Global sports marketing agency SPORTFIVE is furthering its global effort in the business of esports by increasing its footprint in the United States. With the expansion, the agency has realigned its US esports business team, created a new leadership position, and is in the process of filling multiple full-time staff positions to strengthen its status as the leading, full-service esports and gaming firm in the world.
The US expansion of SPORTFIVE’s capabilities in esports and gaming follows the agency’s formation of a global unit in August 2020, which was supported by the agency’s vast global network of local market experts across brand and rightsholder management, partnership sales and activation. With the established global unit, brands and rights-holders are benefitting from the agency’s specialized industry know-how in the field of esports, as well as the extensive expertise in partnership sales and activation in traditional sports.
Eike Gyllensvärd leads the partnership sales as President, Global Esports and Gaming, while Moritz Altmann is responsible for the global business development and rights-holder relations as Vice President, Global Esports.
The creation of a globally integrated esports and gaming division followed the success of its initial dedicated esports department in Germany more than five years ago. The market response and successes of that department proved that esports is one of the key global growth areas for the agency and paved the way for a globally integrated department.
One of the key strategic moves following the formation of the global esports unit was the acquisition of esports consulting and activation agency, build a rocket. Since joining SPORTFIVE, build a rocket serves as the agency’s esports consulting and activation service arm – supporting clients that include the likes of SAP and Nestle (Kit Kat).
Having identified the esports and gaming as a top global growth area for SPORTFIVE, that focus extends to the agency’s efforts in the business of esports in the Americas. North America is the second largest esports market globally in terms of audience and revenue, according to esports analytics and market research Newzoo and is set to hit $300 million in esports revenue this year, per PwC estimates. In addition, Latin America is one of the fastest-rising regions in esports and is expected to skyrocket to $42 million in esports revenue by 2023, also per PwC estimates.
“Inherently, there are no geographical boundaries in esports and gaming, so all esports organizations have an equal opportunity to become global properties. Our agency has an extensive track record of commercializing traditional sports properties that are global in nature, and our support of esports organizations is no different. Expanding our team in the Americas not only ensures we can better service clients locally but fortifies our ability to transcend boundaries and connect brands, rights-holders and fans who are a part of the esports community globally.”
— EIKE GYLLENSVÄRD, President, Global Esports and Gaming at SPORTFIVE
SPORTFIVE is the exclusive commercial agency for T1 Entertainment & Sports (T1) – a global esports joint venture co-launched by US-based Comcast Spectacor – and the agency has successfully developed numerous team sponsorships, including partnerships with BMW, Nike, and Samsung, in just 2020 alone. SPORTFIVE’s US commercial team has also developed and secured partnerships with Red Bull and Matrix keyboards over the past year.
SPORTFIVE’s US team was responsible for a major new sponsorship on behalf of global esports brand Fnatic – signing online fashion retailer Asos as Fnatic‘s exclusive retail fashion partner in which they received front-of-shirt branding on the team’s jersey. This is emblematic of the type of non-endemic brand partnerships that are new to the esports community, and where SPORTFIVE excels at on a global basis.
Following this success, SPORTFIVE is now expanding its esports capabilities in the US, from the size of its team on the ground locally to the type of services it can provide to brands and rightsholders in the industry.
As part of that effort, Ryan Polun, who has been a member of the agency’s Commercial Sales division for nearly three years, has been appointed as the Head of Esports and Gaming, Americas. In his new role, Polun will be responsible for overseeing and growing the agency’s esports and gaming business across the Americas – with an emphasis on SPORTFIVE’s core business lines servicing rightsholders, brands, media platforms, and talent in esports.
In addition, the agency’s US esports team will be hiring at least five new staff members across various roles. The new positions will range in scope and will be stationed in either the agency’s New York Office or in Los Angeles, where SPORTFIVE will be expanding its presence in 2022.
“I’m honored that SPORTFIVE’s global and US regional leadership have put their faith in me to steer the direction of our agency’s esports and gaming business across the Americas. This critical investment in growth is a testament to our global unit’s collective know-how in esports and gaming, and our global leadership team’s enthusiasm about strengthening our position in the sector. I’m confident in what the future holds – as we look to on-board additional thought-leaders on our team here in the US.”
— RYAN POLUN, Head of Esports and Gaming, Americas at SPORTFIVE