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For some time, Misfits Gaming Group has found itself split between operations on multiple fronts. While the esports organization will inevitably keep a core base in Europe for its League of Legends team, in 2021 it will consolidate its North American presence to a new, $1.3M USD headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida.
While team facilities are increasingly common in esports, Misfits divulged that local and state authorities would provide over $200K in grants and tax refunds. The company is also looking to create 30 new jobs—with average salaries of $95K—and its two Florida franchise esports teams will also add to the state’s heavy sports history.
“We tell everyone that’s interested in Florida, every sport can be played and watched with the exception of snow skiing,” said Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of the Palm Beach County Business Development Board.
She leads the economic development board for all 39 municipalities in the county, which for the past 10 years has been shifting from a tourism-based economy to one of technology and corporate headquarters. Boca Raton itself is where IBM developed the first personal PC, and the city’s close proximity to Fort Lauderdale and Miami not only opens up a recruiting base for employees, but a gateway to the Latin and Carribean markets as well.
“[Misfits] falls within a targeted industry sector for not only our county efforts, but state efforts as well,” added Smallridge. “Also, the fact that the jobs are high paid, much higher than the average of the county, which is $53K.”
Misfits Gaming Group founder and CEO Ben Spoont told The Esports Observer that his company currently has 40 staff, including 25 players and coaches. “We’re looking to grow our content team—from video production to graphic design, we want to expand our business development team and the support team for our pros as well as partner with local influencers to help increase our reach in South Florida,” he said.
The organization is hosting three total “homestand” weekends this year; essentially home games for its Call of Duty League franchise, the Florida Mutineers, and Overwatch League team, the Florida Mayhem. The plan is to add to this live events calendar in the next few years, with more homestands, home series, watch parties, and fan meetups.
In addition, the HQ will house companies under the MSF/IO $10M incubator and seed fund. Companies accepted into the program will have the option to use office space, catering, etc. in the 18,000 sq. ft. facility, where Misfits teams will practice throughout the year. Naming rights discussions for the HQ are currently ongoing.
While events such as the Miami League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) finals in 2018 helped bring esports to Palm Beach’s attention, the technology component was a stronger pull for inviting Misfits to settle in the county. Smallridge said the board facilitates 35 companies a year, from aviation aerospace and financial services to logistics and biosciences.
“Technology companies are finding that Florida is a great place to locate, not only for a skilled workplace, but the tax environment is extremely attractive with no state taxes on personal income,” she said.
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