New York-based esports organisation Andbox has officially rebranded to NYXL as the company looks to develop New York City (NYC) into ‘the world capital of esports and gaming culture’ with a slew of new announcements.
NYXL intends to invest a ‘high-seven figure’ amount into NYC’s gaming community over the next 12 months. It also unveiled plans to build XLHQ, a company headquarters in Manhattan.
The slated headquarters will feature a practice facility for its athletes as well as an event venue to serve as a hub for the gaming community, content creators and live experiences.
NYXL currently hosts a VALORANT roster, Call of Duty League (CDL) franchise New York Subliners, Call of Duty Mobile team NSYL Mayhem and Overwatch League (OWL) franchise New York Excelsior — which is commonly stylised NYXL. The organisation’s OWL Contenders roster, XL2 Academy, disbanded in 2019.
The rebranded organisation also announced the debut of the YXL Young Creator Project — an annual, year-long incubator programme aimed at discovering, supporting and promoting ‘the next generation of New York digital content creators’.
According to a release, applications will open for the programme on May 2nd. Fifty finalists will be invited to NYC for an ‘in-person, innovative creator camp to showcase their artistic abilities’. Ten winners will be selected to join NYXL, each receiving a $50,000 (~£37,800) stipend.
NYXL CCO Mitchell Smith commented: “Our team is dedicated to building New York’s esports programmes, discovering new creators, and creating new content and entertainment that will showcase our home city.
“We see NYXL and esports as an important step in growing New York’s economy and we are excited to build this sector and create large scale events that bring people from around the world into the City.”
The NYXL OWL team was founded in 2017 as the organisation’s first entry into esports. It was one of twelve founding members of the Overwatch League and the first professional esports team to represent New York City.
The organisation has also announced an in-person esports event to be hosted in Brooklyn in July, in support of its CDL team, The New York Subliners. Information on the event is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
“As New York City emerges from the pandemic, we’re laser focused on expanding our new job markets and industries, including digital game development,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “We are thrilled NYXL is making New York City their new home, congratulate them on their relaunch, and hope others follow their lead.
Last November, the New York Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) published the first NYC Digital Games Industry Economic Impact Study.
From the report’s Executive Summary, esports events were identified as a powerful economic contributor to the city: “Over the last five years, NYC has hosted one to two large esports and digital games-related events a year, drawing a total of 8,000 attendees on average and overall generating an estimated $4m (~£3.034m) annually in ancillary tourism spending within the city.”
Anne del Castillo, MOME Commissioner, added “NYXL’s rebranding and new Manhattan headquarters signal their commitment to digital game development in NYC, the creative capital of the world.”
NYXL’s advisory board includes Mike Sepso, CEO of gaming and technology company Vindex. Key investors include NBA athlete Kevin Durant and his manager, Rich Kleiman; actor Michael B. Jordan; owner of the Minnesota Twins, Pohlad Companies, among others.
In a similar rebranding effort, last February saw the parent organisation behind CDL team Minnesota RØKKR, formerly WISE Ventures Esports, rebranded to Version1.
Esports Insider says: This is a massive bet on geo-located esports branding and a huge investment into the NYC esports & gaming industries and audiences. Los Angeles and Austin have long been top-contenders for the US’s esports capital, with Philadelphia and Atlanta as recent upcomers. At the moment, NYXL appears to be the only show in town for the Big Apple and only time will tell if others join the initiative.