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Jay Z's Roc Nation launches esports initiative for traditional-sport athletes

The talent agency is answering a call from athletes and brands to be part of the burgeoning industry.

Roc Nation Sports and esports media agency Gaming Community Network (GCN) have partnered to create global gaming solutions for athletes. The multi-year agreement will see the pair produce bespoke athletic-centric strategies, including esports tournaments, gaming content production and live streaming events.

The collaboration will also provide content syndication across the GCN Network, which includes more than 85 gaming and esports-centric websites. GCN, which is part of international gaming and esports company GameSquare Esports, intends to create strategies for each athlete that fits their interests in esports and specific games.

The Roc Nation Sports agency will look to leverage its marketing and social media reach alongside GCN’s esports capabilities to bring unique strategies for the Roc Nation Sports roster and attract new talent that will connect with the growing esports demographic.

US rapper Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports agency’s client list covers athletes across the likes of the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA) and English soccer’s Premier League. In 2019, the agency ventured into esports by signing Mosaad ‘Msdossary’ Al-Dossary, who was the 2018 eSports Player of the Year after winning the FIFA eWorld Cup.

GCN, meanwhile, produced the first major collegiate esports event in May, which brought colleges and universities together across ten different National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) conferences. The partnership with Van Wagner, the full service sports and entertainment firm, saw participants compete to become a national champion. The conference tournaments and championship garnered more than 651,000 live views on Twitch and during the championship tournament, more than 256,000 unique viewers tuned in.

“Partnering with Roc Nation Sports continues our growth of building GameSquare into an esports powerhouse," said Justin Kenna, GameSquare chief executive. “With our recent acquisitions of Complexity and Cut+Sew/Zoned and adding Paradigm Sports to our advisory board, we are well-positioned to guide Roc Nation Sports and its diverse talent into the gaming and esports space.” Brodie Van Wagenen, chief operating officer, head of strategy and business development, at Roc Nation Sports, added: “Increasingly, athletes are engaging in the world of esports gaming. Younger audiences represent a hugely influential and important demographic to reach.

“By pairing GCN’s vast network and capabilities with Roc Nation Sports’ diverse global footprint, we anticipate that our clients will be able to connect to a broader community while growing their personal brands and businesses through innovative and multi-facing gaming projects.”

Author: Paula Holguin