Guinevere Capital and Cloud9 will announce a strategic partnership today that aims to enhance the operational capacity of Overwatch League team London Spitfire across the United Kingdom and Europe.
Starting immediately, Guinevere will be given logistical control of the commercial and marketing aspects of the organization as well as facilitating expected live home stand events in 2021, according to an announcement to come later on Thursday. While financial details of the partnership were not released, the esports investment and advisory firm did not obtain any ownership shares or interest. King’s Row Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of the North American esports organization Cloud9, remains intact as owners of the team. Spitfire players and staff will continue to be based in Korea with Cloud9 leadership still making personnel decisions.
Guinevere is also the majority shareholder of Excel, which is headquartered in Twickenham Stadium just outside London.
In describing the relationship and what areas of control the Guinevere Capital group will be undertaking with Spitfire, Guinevere Managing Director David Harris told The Esports Observer that it is starting with the places it can really add value.
“Our initial focus will be on creating that connection with both the UK and local communities,” Harris said. “We feel the link between participation and fandom is incredibly important. With that in mind we will also be focusing on marketing opportunities, interacting with the local fan base, and supplying fans with a great experience during our events.”
Creating fan interaction and marketing opportunities is a priority for Harris. So much so that he has put together a team he says will allow Guinevere to leverage the connections and commercial experience his team has gleaned over years in the space.
Guinevere will be joined by Duncan McMonagle, former senior vice president and general manager of esports for Minute Media. McMonagle will focus on partnerships across brands, stakeholders, personalities, and community groups. And alongside McMonagle, Jason Spiller, who held roles at Microsoft and OMEN by HP, will focus on building connections with fans and creating regular weekly content across the UK and Europe.
“Duncan McMonagle is going to be one of the key people on the ground for us. He’s got a lot of experience in the partnership and branding markets,” Harris said. “We’re also working quite closely with Jason Spiller as part of our team who has worked across a number of projects. He’s created some great marketing content on the branding side which will be our focus early on.”
Spitfire was one of the original 12 teams that joined the league in 2018, winning the inaugural season’s championship. Now competing in its third season, concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the Spitfire to relocate the team to South Korea, the home of every rostered player and member of the coaching staff.
The team did not play in any league matches between March 1 and May 8 noting on social media, “Due to a government-mandated quarantine in Korea, we are currently taking the necessary precautions during this time to ensure the health and safety of our players. The London Spitfire expects to start playing Overwatch League matches again in early May. We thank you for your thoughts and considerations during this time and we are excited to play again once we are able.”
The team lost to the Chengdu Hunters and Guangzhou Charge when it returned to action on May 9.
“We’re just getting under the hood and really just trying to understand where we can add value,” Harris said. “Over the next few months we will try to start planning ahead to 2021 where hopefully we will see live events again. That’s where we really feel like we can add a lot of value. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty out there. So we’ll just see how things go and how things play out.”
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