A CHAT WITH SPLYCE ON THEIR BOSTON BRUINS INVESTMENT
TNL TAKE: 2017 has seen an immense amount of activity across the eSports landscape and last week was no exception.
Then Delaware North, parent company of Boston's TD Garden and home of the Boston Bruins - which is also owned by Delaware North chairman Jeremy Jacobs - announced a strategic investment with eSports team Splyce.
Delaware North Sportservice, operates food, beverage and/or retail services in more than 50 professional sports venues, with clients in the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA and Major League Soccer - including Nationwide Arena which held the MLG Columbus Counter-Strike Major event.
They were clearly aware of the growth in eSports having published two reports on the opportunity in the "Future Of Sports" report.
Announcing the partnership, CEO of Delaware North’s Boston Holdings Charlie Jacobs echoed the sentiments of other Pro Sports owners entering eSports by saying “With the experience and resources that Delaware North brings to an already-established esports team, we’re looking forward to exploring many different collaborative opportunities. That could include everything from sales and marketing to hosting events to broadcasting.”
I spoke with Splyce Co-Founder Marty Strenczewilk on the investment and what it means for both Delaware North and the team going forward.
TNL: First off, congrats on the deal. I love seeing good, hard working people succeed in eSports. Talk about how this partnership with Delaware North first got started and what made you choose to go with them?
[Marty] Thanks! We were connected through mutual colleagues, which was in a way inevitable because we are both Western NY businesses. The choice to work with them was much easier than you'd think from our end: they have a major northeast city with an arena, allowing us to stay in our preferred geography while gaining a major hub; their business expands far beyond sports and gives us access to many other things outside of the Bruins (for example, we're doing a bootcamp shortly at a different Delaware North property); we have very similar management ideals and there was an instant connection and good working relationship. One of their senior execs is a big eSports fan and that gave us the confidence of having someone who really understood and believed in what we were doing.
TNL: Outside of the Helsinki Reds and San Jose Sharks, this is only the 3rd investment from either a Pro Team, owner or company that’s involved with Hockey. As the NBA has clearly led in US eSports investment, do see more investment from the NHL side and what’s the potential for Hockey eSports?
[Marty]I've mentioned this recently on Reddit, but I truly believe the only reason the NBA was so far ahead was they summit they had talking about eSports a year earlier than everyone else. It took them just as much time to get comfortable with eSports as any other sports owner, they just had a head start. I think hockey and basketball are the obvious two favorites to attach to eSports, since they already own or work with an indoor arena - that's a challenge football and baseball - in North America - will have to sort out for the future.
TNL: Delaware North runs the concession business for the Columbus Arena, where MLG’s Counter-Strike event took place last year. Explain how Splyce will work together with Delaware North to leverage their assets like the TD Garden, Boston Bruins and relationship with many arena’s nationwide?
[Marty] Actually a conversation we've already had was about that exact event - how they were successful and how our eSports knowledge can better help them program concessions for the future. I can't go into a ton of details around what we have planned, but I can tell you we plan to do a lot with the Garden and activating Boston fans in the area. We're already exploring ideas on how to do that with the Bruins fans specifically.
TNL: Last, it seems that one of the main areas that Pro Sports teams are providing an advantage to eSports teams and their investment has been to make use of the existing Sales and Sponsorship teams. What can you speak to in attracting Non-Endemic Brand Sponsors? What Brand would you want to work with the most?
[Marty] This is an obvious no brainer, since they are already experts in sales. We plan to utilize the huge sales team Delaware North has, combined with our insider eSports knowledge to go out and get some awesome brands involved - especially now that we can offer the regional element along with the global nature of eSports. No specific brands to name, as the list would be too long of awesome brands I know we can do great stuff with. [Edit: Awesome answer]