Events DC Announces First-Ever Sponsorship of ESports Team Ahead of SXSW WeDC Showcase
WASHINGTON, DC – March 10, 2017 – Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, today announced an exclusive sponsorship of an esports team, NRG Esports with notable investors such as Shaquille O'Neal, Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins, as well as gamer rosters in popular video games such as Overwatch. This first-of-its-kind sponsorship will be highlighted as part of the WeDC House innovative programming on Sunday, March 12 with special presentations and announcements highlighting the esports industry, which is currently growing 12 times as fast as professional American football (NFL).
“DC is no longer your grandparent’s capital. Each month there are 1,000 new residents in Washington, DC who are accelerating and becoming part of DC’s ongoing transformation by attracting new and exciting events that further position the city on a global stage,” said Max Brown, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Events DC. “Through collaborations with organizations like NRG, we are actively working to position ourselves for the future and in the next five to eight years, DC will be positioned to be the capital of esports.”
Through organizations like Events DC, WeDC and city-funded programing that create pathways to true inclusive innovation in the tech sector, Washington, DC is attracting future industries and new revenue to the District ranging from startups to virtual reality. As part of this movement to make DC the “Capital of Inclusive Innovation,” Events DC recognized an opportunity in esports, the recent evolution of competitive gaming that transforms video games into a spectator sport with a strong following of enthusiasts that enjoy traveling to attend live and unique events. Despite the large number of enthusiasts, most tournaments and teams have no strong geographic association. Through this innovative sponsorship with NRG, Events DC is working to change that and make DC an esports destination. NRG is at the helm of this industry that attracts twelve percent of Americans and who saw 42 million unique viewers from around the world tune in to watch the 2016 League of Legends World [esports] Championship, resulting in a larger viewership than the NBA Finals.
"It’s exciting to be on the forefront of an emerging industry and to be able to expand our scope at Events DC to include esports. Our esports initiative will play a key role in helping to fuel our growth – not only within the District but with an international reach as well,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “As an innovative city, esports will continue to position ourselves as a thought-leader that attracts future industries, new revenue and visitors from around the globe.”
As U.S. cities compete to get tourist and visitors, this sponsorship with NRG is an avenue that strongly aligns with the long-term mission and vision of Events DC to further attract existing events and generate heightened tourism and economic activity. As a part of this partnership NRG will promote Events DC across their streaming channels on Twitch and across social media. NRG players will also participate in promotional appearances in conjunction with Events DC. The NRG sponsorship will also be key to increase the profile of Events DC’s efforts both internationally and domestically in the tech and videogame landscape, and the visibility of its logo in the esports community will underscore the importance of bringing tournaments to the District.
“NRG esports is honored to help introduce esports to the city of Washington, DC,” said Andy Miller, chairman and co-founder of NRG esports. “By partnering with such a forward-thinking group as Events DC, NRG will have an even bigger platform to display the excitement and community of our 24/7 sport.”
“It’s great to work with an organization like Events DC, their support for NRG and our Overwatch roster is incredible. I really look forward to being able to bootcamp with our roster in a city as historically important as Washington, DC,” said NRG professional player Brandon “Seagull” Larned. “Getting to take in all DC has to offer after a long day of practice will be an amazing opportunity.”
As part of the WeDC House programming, Events DC along with NRG will host a unique esports panel, and an exciting event surrounding esports on Sunday, March 12 at the WeDC House starting at 5:00 p.m. (CST). The panel will discuss the new ecosystem of esports and how it works to advance localized economic development and innovation across Washington, DC as well as examining the various contributions that esports can bring to DC, similarly to traditional professional sports:
- Esports tourism – generating direct spending by visitors and locals;
- Industry infrastructure – development of new jobs and facilities to support various elements, from hosting mega events, to emerging tech to education and training;
- Esports relevance – strategically aligning cities with a cutting-edge industry that is growing rapidly, attracting mainstream media, sponsors and other partners.
Following the esports panel, Events DC will host its first-ever Rocket League Community Showcase on the Events DC Soundstage, located at the outside patio of the WeDC House on Sunday, March 12 at 8:00 p.m. (CST). Gaming sparks will be flying high at this live esports tournament, featuring two of the top professional esports teams, NRG and Team Liquid, along with live commentary.
The WeDC House at SXSW and the WeDC Initiative, serves as a platform to elevate DC and DC businesses at the world's foremost gathering of innovators, artists and technology leaders. The WeDC House provides the city with a unique opportunity to demonstrate why it has earned a track record for being a cultural hub and the premiere spot in the country for tech and social entrepreneurial ventures. The House will be open from March 11 to March 13, 2017, located at 340 East 2nd Street, Austin, TX.
For more information on the esports programming and overall WeDC House activation, visit www.wedchouse.com
About Events DC
Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, delivers premier event services and flexible venues across the nation’s capital. Leveraging the power of a world-class destination and creating amazing attendee experiences, Events DC generates economic and community benefits through the attraction and promotion of business, athletic, entertainment and cultural activities. Events DC oversees the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, an anchor of the District’s hospitality and tourism economy that generates over $400 million annually in total economic impact, and the historic Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square. Events DC manages the Stadium-Armory campus, which includes Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and surrounding Festival Grounds, the non-military functions of the DC Armory and Maloof Skate Park at RFK Stadium. Events DC also built and now serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States. The most recent addition is Gateway DC, an innovative and versatile space featuring a covered and open-air pavilion in the center of a 1-acre park, conveniently located in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC. For more information, please visit www.eventsdc.com.
About NRG Esports
NRG Esports was founded by Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov, co-owners of the Sacramento Kings in 2015. NRG counts advisors Shaquille O’Neal, Alex Rodriguez, and Jimmy Rollins among its investors. NRG have quickly become one of the most-loved teams in North America, with an exciting blend of young, upcoming talent and established veterans. NRG fields teams across Vain Glory, Overwatch, CSGO, Smite, and Rocket League, as well as Smash and Hearthstone players and is home to the back to back SMITE World Champions. NRG Esports is the current reigning world champions in SMITE and the current North American champions in Rocket League.