In November of 2015, the organization formerly known as “Follow eSports” completed its rebranding to become officially known as Splyce. This occurred just after successfully purchasing the League of Legends team Dignitas EU on October 29, 2015.
Splyce is now in the process of finalizing their application for the European League of Legends Championship Series franchise spot they acquired with the Dignitas purchase. The deadline for applications closed on July 1 for the first season in 2019. The total cost of the slot will be 8 million euros ($9.37 million) paid over a period of time.
Photo Credit: Spylce YouTube
Which is why the newly acquired funds will certainly come in handy. Splyce just announced a $2.6 million funding round. The largest contribution, $1.5 million, came from The Ledger Group. Previously, this Toronto-based group’s initial investments focused on blockchain-enabled companies, tokens, and cryptocurrencies, but in April it made an announcement that it would seek opportunities to build, acquire, or invest in esports franchises and related businesses. In addition to Splyce, The Ledger Group has also invested in the esports betting company Askott Entertainment and gaming community Enthusiast Gaming, Inc. As a result of its esports ventures, The Ledger Group is rebranding to OverActive Media (which is a pretty good name).
The New York and Florida-based venture capital firm First Serve Partners was also involved in the Splyce investment. Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace, former New Orleans Saints safety Roman Harper, and sports agent David Meltzer are among its investors.
Representatives from The Ledger Group (OverActive Media) and First Serve Partners will both join the Splyce board as observers.
Photo Credit: Esports Marketing Blog
Investing in Splyce will likely turn out to be a worthwhile venture. In addition to the European League of Legends Championship Series, which is one of the organization’s most valuable assets, Splyce also holds teams in Call of Duty, Halo, Rocket League, StarCraft II, Smite, and Paladins.
“We believe that our investment in Splyce, featuring a strategic collection of iconic athletes and business leaders in our syndicate, positions us to not only capitalize on the transcendent growth of esports but to bridge the gap between athletes as entrepreneurs and investors, and continue our leadership across sports, media, and entertainment,” Waylon Chin, CEO of First Serve Partners, said to ESPN.
First Serve Partners initial interaction with Splyce occurred September 2017 at an esports-vs.-traditional-sports panel held at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York. The symposium was held prior to the annual ESL One New York, which was taking place at the Barclays Center. Splyce CEO Marty Strenczewilk was a panelist and First Serve Partners President and Managing Partner Joey Brander served as the moderator for the discussion. Apparently the two remained in contact, which led to this investment.
“There’s a lot of excitement from everyone in Splyce about bringing in our new groups from Toronto (Ledger) and New York (First Serve Partners),” Strenczewilk said to ESPN. “They not only expand our networks into two key business regions in the northeast, but also provide a wealth of business acumen to support our growth strategies. I’ve never looked at us as purely a sports team, but rather an entertainment company. Working with accomplished entertainment veterans like Joey Brander, David Meltzer, Roman Harper and Metta World Peace gives us a lot of support and reach for our projects to expand the Splyce brand beyond the core esports audience and reach new fans.”
First Serve Partners traditional sports-heavy roster is actually the second such group to invest in Splyce. In February 2017, Delaware North, the parent company of the Boston Bruins and the TD Garden (home to the Boston Bruins and the Boston Celtics), invested in the esports organization. Delaware North also assists Splyce with its marketing, as well as sales and development. In addition, Splyce merchandise is now available at the TD Garden’s in-arena store.
Photo Credit: Esports Insider
In addition to its esports teams, Splyce recently launched a production company called Emberlore. Emberlore is a separate company that will produce content for Splyce and its teams and for advertisers, brands, and other content houses who may need help gearing their productions for esports and gaming audiences. Splyce is just one of many esports companies that have recognized the importance of content generation and have created a separate division dedicated to production. The game developer Hi-Rez Studios launched an esports production company last month, while Team Liquid created a content company, 1UP Studios, last year.
With its focus on diversification, as well as the clear importance the organization is putting on marketing and producing its own content (which is marketing to the esports crowd), Splyce is clearly focused on a successful future. Looking to Splyce can help other organizations determine whether another esports organization is a worthwhile investment or not. Of course, we can help with that as well. For any questions about investing in the esports space, reach out to eGency Global at 972-323-6354.