Esports organization T1 Entertainment & Sports has signed popular Twitch streamer Tyler “Tyler1” Steinkamp as a content creator. Steinkamp is best known as a streamer of League of Legends content, including hosting his own self-branded tournament, the Tyler1 Championship Series.
T1 Entertainment & Sports CEO Joe Marsh told The Esports Observer that the organization first became connected with Steinkamp when the streamer and T1 League of Legends star Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok both attended All Star events held at the end of the LoL competitive season. Then last year, Sang-hyeok and Steinkamp happened to be in Las Vegas at the same time, and so T1 organized an opportunity for the pair to create video content together.
At that time, the organization floated the idea of having Steinkamp join T1 to the creator and his management. “The jokes just write themselves with T1 T1,” explained Marsh. While he declined at the time, T1 and Tyler1 remained friendly, and have now officially joined forces.
The deal was negotiated by PROXY – a recently launched esports and gaming agency founded by industry veterans Marcel Feldkamp, Ferris Ganzman, and Justin Anderson.
Marsh said that while Steinkamp will have the T1 logo on his Twitch stream and will “be a Nike guy,” signing Steinkamp is about more than just having a popular streamer attached to the org.
“For us with someone like Tyler, we view this more as a content creation partnership versus just a strict streaming deal,” said Marsh. “We view him as a creator. He doesn’t need us for streaming…he’s one of the biggest names in the game. For us, it was about continuing to build our brand here in the West. We have our anchor team here in Valorant, but our League team’s out in Korea and we’re just building roots here in the United States as we’re historically Korean. So the idea of doing content with Tyler was really enticing. He’s a big personality and he’s a great guy to work with.”
Part of Marsh’s excitement for the signing also comes from Steinkamp’s position as someone who understands the League of Legends community. Having an experienced creator as a creative partner offers significant value as the organization plans out future content. “It’s massive. You look at someone like Tyler, who has more ideas in his head than a lot of people do, and now he has the resources of an org behind him to say ‘hey I want to do this crazy shoot of XYZ’, and we can say ‘alright cool, let’s go do it.’”
As content creation has become a more integral part of operating an esports organization, teams have had to find the balance between leveraging their players as content assets, and providing them the time necessary to prepare for competition. While some orgs have chosen to expand into less competition-focused games like Fortnite, Marsh feels that T1 must take a different approach.
“For us it’s always about winning. For us, one reason why we’ve started expanding our roster of creators…Faker only has so many hours in the day, and he needs to focus on winning first and foremost. So having the opportunity to leverage Tyler in a Nike opportunity versus continually bringing Faker or the other players out is a win for us, and for Tyler…and allows Faker to focus on his main job, which is winning another championship. So for us it was always about finding creators that made sense…and now we’re reaching out to people we think we can create great partnerships.
Tyler’s got a lot of creative ideas in his head, and we’re excited to unveil those and explore those throughout the next year.”
Published at Sat, 17 Oct 2020 20:30:05 +0000
The League of Legends World Championships are in full swing having made its way to the championship quarterfinal bracket. Eight teams fought their way out of the group stages in order for a chance at winning what is widely considered the most prestigious championship in esports. Carlos “ocelote” Rodríguez, owner of Spanish organization G2 Esports, is standing by as his own team prepares for its knock-out championship bracket match against Gen.G. During this intermission, Rodriguez found some time to talk with The Esports Observer, sharing his thoughts about the overall Worlds vibe and what G2 has done to prepare–from quarantine to competition.
“Two weeks. Man, they got there early and had to quarantine. I felt for them. This was hard for some of them to go through,” Rodrigueuz said. “Some of them did better than others, I think Wunder [G2 player Martin Hansen] enjoyed it, but it always boils down to the character of each of them. Wunder likes to be by himself, nobody pissing him off, whereas the others aren’t like that. They need people around, and who can blame them? This was hard, but they are amazing.”
This year, Worlds is being played in Shanghai, China, and teams were made to come to the country, some a full month before, and quarantine in order to compete. Rodriguez made sure to have every tool available in order to help his team not just make it past quarantine, but still be able to compete–the entire purpose for being there.
“The best we can do is to ensure that the infrastructure is in place,” he said. “We made sure we had the ability to purchase things online. So if we needed weights for training or whatever in the room, or whether we needed additional items from an infrastructure perspective, we were prepared to take care of it.”
Another avenue that Rodriguez and company made sure that the staff and players could travel on was that of providing online help in the form of medical professionals, if they were needed during this somewhat difficult time.
“In conjunction with the online stuff, our organization is always in touch with psychologists and sports performance experts. Some of them are from Red Bull, who has so much experience in competition having trained a lot of athletes from the states and Austria,” explained Rodriguez. “We have a handle on this and have been planning for this for a while, Besides the fact that we do like to have fun with social media and stuff, we do take our job very seriously. I make sure that in moments like this, the players have every tool within their reach in order to maneuver through those couple of weeks. This was the first time these guys have done something like this.”
Knowing this was difficult for all the teams and their players, Rodriguez notes that Riot Games, the publisher behind the event, has made a monumental effort to get the event off the ground as the company could have simply canceled it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was almost an insurmountable challenge to build a tournament like this in times like this,” he said. “Riot has done a really good job. I don’t think many publishers out there have the balls to put on what Riot has put together–specifically in China. I can’t even imagine the amount of money Riot has probably spent in putting these Worlds together.
And in speaking about the amount of money being spent by Riot in order to even have the event, Rodriguez notes that some teams, like those in North America, may be spending money only to get knocked out early in the tournament. He’d like to see the region get a little better.
“Unfortunately we crushed Team Liquid’s dreams by beating them in the first game of the day, but then again by losing to Suning, which put them out of the tournament,” Rodriguez said. “I think there is a lot of bad to be said about North America. I think the region is relative to last year or maybe even a little worse or maybe the same, but I will say that region does have a lot of heart.”
However, as much as Rodriguez has his own opinions of other League of Legends regions, right now he is fully focused on G2.
“We fucking suck in groups. We are just so bad. We are not a team that cheeses, we are not a team that throws, we are a team that is supposed to be better,” he said.”But, we do play the game our way and we like to limit test a lot.”
However, in all honesty, Rodriguez will take the advancement as they did last year at Worlds where the team made it to the grand finals after finishing second in groups.
“All in all, we should be happy we got through. If you told me before the group phase, that we could and would finish second by signing a piece of paper, I would sign that paper with blood. We may not be in the top five coming out of groups, but we’re really good at adapting and a team that is ready that whatever the team we play next is going to do. We are ready for this next matchup.”
G2 will take on Gen.G in a League of Legends World Championship quarterfinal match which takes place at 3 a.m. PST on Oct. 18, 2020.
Published at Fri, 16 Oct 2020 19:40:00 +0000