Engine Shop co-founder Ed Kiernan and former Blizzard Entertainment
Chief Operating Officer Paul Sams have joined Damage, a small esports agency that opened two years ago but is now relaunching with new capital to expand.
Both Kiernan and Sams are equity-holding partners, and Sams also has been granted the title of co-founder because of his informal role since the founding, said managing partner Johnny Ward. A third new entity, which Ward declined to disclose, provided additional financial backing.
Sams, who is a minority shareholder in the Pittsburgh Steelers, said he was looking for ways to further develop the esports industry, which he helped create as a Blizzard executive in the earliest days of online gaming.
“It’s an area of real passion and love of mine, and one of the ways you do that is to get it in front of more people,” Sams said. “You need to find ways to bring in endemic and nonendemic brands, because it adds credibility.”
The new Damage will go to market as a full-service esports marketing agency, offering brand consulting on team sponsorships, influencer relationships, experiential marketing at live tournaments and league development. It will consider entering the esports team ownership space, Sams said, though the agency is still developing a strategy.
It is entering a rapidly growing and competitive space.
Ward said they’ll sell themselves as esports specialists, contrasting with larger general-purpose competitors. Damage’s work includes a Subaru-titled Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament, a partnership between Linksys and the University of California, Irvine, esports program and representation of Gen.G esports, which runs the Seoul Dynasty Overwatch League team.
“It’s evident with the thousands of calls we’ve made directly to brands that they’re confused on how to intelligently enter esports and engage the male millennial,” Ward said. “And one of the reasons they’re confused is they have non-esports agencies falsely claiming they have esports knowledge with no past accomplishments, and that’s exacerbating that confusion.”
Kiernan, a 2014 SportsBusiness Journal Forty Under 40 honoree, left Engine Shop in April 2017. He said he thinks Damage has a chance to replicate Engine Shop’s success because of the diverse range of contacts and experience its founders and executives have.
“I think we’re going to have similar success here, because we’ve got a lot of people with a lot of connections and a lot of access,” Kiernan said. “That’s the key word: We have amazing access to everything we need to be successful.”
Other original co-founders and equity partners include William Wu, Brian Kim and Tyrone Wang, all of whom played elite esports before their business careers. Based in downtown Los Angeles, the agency has 12 employees, not including Kiernan and Sams.
Ben Fischer is a staff writer for SportsBusiness Journal, where this article appeared first.
British Wheelchair Basketball has announced the GB women’s squad for the 2018 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships, which take place in Hamburg, Germany from 16-26 August.
The 12 athletes selected make up a youthful squad, with an average age of just 23. The players and support staff are quietly hopeful of finishing in the medals, building on their 5th place result four years ago.
The squad offers a powerful blend of youth and experience with nine of the 12 having represented Team GB at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, while 22-year-old Kayla Bell will be playing in her first ever major international tournament.
The team head into the World Championships in excellent form, winning the recent Lyon Wheelchair Basketball Competition without losing a game. Next up is the Continental Clash held in Sheffield this July, before the squad fly out to the World Championships in August. These major tournaments will provide essential experience for the squad on the road to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Miles Thompson, Head Coach of the GB Women’s team, comments: “Many of the athletes selected for the 2018 World Championships were part of the squad that won gold at the 2015 Women’s U25 World Championships in Beijing, so there is a very cohesive and confident feel to the team.
“Defensively this team is strong in understanding our half court and full court principles. Offensively the squad is getting better every day. By the time the World Championships come the GB women will be strong.
“The pool stage is a tough challenge. Our aim is to exit it with a high seed, so that the quarter final cross over is to GB’s advantage. We are in a strong pool, but we know if we play at our best we are a nightmare for all the other teams.”
There is a hugely exciting blend within the squad, from the leadership and experience of Helen Freeman, Maddie Thompson, Amy Conroy, Jude Hamer and Laurie Williams playing in their third World Championships, to future star of the game, 19-year-old Joy Haizelden, who loves the battles and fights within every possession.
Great Britain has three excellent finishers in its ranks; Leah Evans who is strong and fearless at the basket, Amy Conroy, GB’s most consistent scorer whose length and speed make her really dangerous and Robyn Love, a fierce rebounder whose scoring consistency is without doubt.
Sophie Carrigill, Charlotte Moore and Siobhan Fitzpatrick were key members of 2015 Women’s U25 World Championship winning squad, and each player will be hoping to bring the key ingredients of their success forward to this year’s senior championships.
The 2018 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships take place in Hamburg, Germany from 16-26 August. Great Britain face reigning champions Canada, Spain, Brazil, Australia and the Netherlands in Pool A, with the top four teams from each pool qualifying for the quarter finals. The medal games will take place on Saturday 25 August.
To find out more about British Wheelchair Basketball please visit www.britishwheelchairbasketball.co.uk
Photo caption: Rio 2016 – GB v NED – Laurie Williams. Credit: SA Images.
There is a palpable sense of excitement surrounding the GB Rowing Team’s Caversham training base at the start of the summer racing period. The season began well with six medal wins, including a gold for the men’s quadruple sculls and a silver for the women’s eight at the first international regatta of the rowing calendar, the World Rowing Cup I in Belgrade, Serbia.
A series of three regattas taking place early in the summer each year, the three World Rowing Cups form an important part of the team’s preparation ahead of the European and World Rowing Championships later in the year. Data is an integral part of the sport and as the Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing, SAS provides a vital tool in helping British Rowing maintain success on a long-term basis and identify the rowers who will take to the water at future Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Speaking at the World Rowing Cup squad announcement about the importance of data analytics in preparing for elite regattas, Rebecca Girling, who rowed in seat two of the silver medal-winning women’s eight squad, said: “The most important aspect of data analysis, particularly when preparing for the World Rowing Cup, is to be able to track performance over the course of an individual race, targeting extremely specific areas of improvement. In rowing, the difference between a gold and a silver medal can be a matter of milliseconds, but data analysis can help us to pinpoint exactly what we need to do to reduce our time and ultimately find those marginal gains that can make the difference.”
As the first international regattas of the summer, the World Rowing Cup races will, in some instances, be the first elite events that some crews have raced at together, and analysis of data for new crews can help to provide a second, yet equally important, benefit to athletes – a mental edge at the start line. Speaking about the confidence boost that the data can provide ahead of an international regatta, the Hampshire native continued: “Fundamentally, if our practice data tells us that we can get from A to B at a certain speed, all we have to do is replicate that during the race. The confidence comes from the knowledge that we are not trying to achieve a miracle, but to simply perform as we do every day at Caversham. It doesn’t matter that the person in the next boat might be a world record holder because through the data I know what we are capable of and having that confidence at the World Rowing Cup is a huge benefit.”
Elaborating on the impact of data analytics on preparation for the World Rowing Cups, British Rowing’s Biomechanist and Performance Analyst, Jack Mercer said: “We collect an enormous amount of data every day, in every session, and the important thing to be able to do is turn the raw numbers into useful information that both athletes and coaches can interpret easily. Ultimately, our goal is to turn as much information as we can into performance gains and success at international competitions. SAS’ manipulation, processing and interpretation abilities are a massive help in maintaining that into the future.”
Of the athletes who competed in Belgrade and will make the trip to Linz Ottensheim, Austria and Lucerne, Switzerland later in the summer, as part of the World Rowing Cup squad, some will only have been with the team for as little as six weeks. For the Sports Science team, it is important to understand these athletes’ key strengths and weaknesses as quickly as possible so that the best crews can be put forward to race.
Mercer continued: “Data analytics helps us to identify the areas that newer athletes might be able to improve upon more quickly, bringing them up to speed with the rest of the squad in a much shorter space of time. In years past, it would have taken a lot longer to fully assess new athletes, but with today’s technology we are now able to do this much more quickly, ensuring that the best athletes are racing at the World Rowing Cups, and then again at the European and World Championships.”
GB Rowing Team World Rowing Cup I women’s eight silver medal-winning crew: Back row: Rowan McKellar, Holly Norton, Fiona Gammond, Rebecca Shorten and Matilda Horn (cox). Front row: Anastasia Chitty, Rebecca Girling, Hattie Taylor and Karen Bennett.
SAS / Naomi Baker
Belle Vue Aces are through to the KOC Semi-Final after winning 44-46 at Wolverhampton tonight to take the tie 103-77 on aggregate
PREMIERSHIP KO CUP Q/F 2nd leg
WOLVERHAMPTON 44: Jacob Thorssell 11, Kyle Howarth 9+1, Nathan Greaves 7+3, Rory Schlein 6, Sam Masters 5, Ashley Morris 3+2, Cameron Heeps 3.
BELLE VUE 46: Craig Cook 12, Max Fricke 11+1, Rohan Tungate 7+1, Jason Garrity 6+2, Damian Drozdz 5, Dan Bewley 4, Jye Etheridge 1.
Full report to follow.
The 60 competitors in this year’s first round qualifier on the River Calder in Mirfield were faced with a tricky river, that was over a foot below seasonal level and running clear.
Chub, roach, and dace were the target species and leading the pack was Nicholas Crooks who caught 13-4-0 of roach on pole and waggler from peg A4 above the weir. This made him the first angler of the series to secure a place in the big money November final.
Joining Nicholas in the final are Ian Courtney who won B zone with 10-15-0 of chub and Andy Dixon came out on top in C zone with 12-2-0 of chub.
Rutherford famously won Olympic gold on ‘Super Saturday’ at London 2012 alongside Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah, but, Rutherford will bring his glittering long jump career to a close at the end of the 2018 summer season.
Having won back-to-back European gold in 2014 and 2016, Commonwealth gold in 2014 and the world gold in Beijing in 2015, he became only the fifth British track and field athlete to hold the four major titles simultaneously.
The 31-year-old will embark on a farewell tour this summer, including competing in what promises to be a thrilling long jump competition at the Müller Anniversary Games.
“The Anniversary Games are going to be really emotional. Every time I compete in London, Birmingham or wherever it is, I get emotional when I walk out and the crowd cheers for me. It is going to be extra special and heightened this year at the Anniversary Games,” Rutherford said.
The Marshall Milton Keynes athlete sent the home crowds into delirium with gold at London 2012, and Rutherford wants to repay the public for all their support during his illustrious career.
“I might find I am waving and clapping to the crowd more than in previous years because my focus is going to be giving back to the wonderful British public. I want to take it all in because once that sixth round is done that will be the last time I ever jump as an athlete in the stadium.”
With the London Stadium containing special memories for Rutherford, the long jumper is hoping the venue will provide a fitting farewell party.
“I want it to be a party atmosphere from the point of view it’s like a leaving do for me. If I was in complete tip top shape, I would be wanting to go in there and win the competition and beat everyone else. But, I am being realistic and the long jump event is fantastic this year, so for me I am going to London to thoroughly enjoy it,” the long jumper said.
Rutherford will be joined on the runway by a star-studded field and he is anticipating an enthralling competition, which will include Olympic champion Jeff Henderson and Cuban sensation Juan Miguel Echevarria.
“It’s going to be brilliant because the thing is the London Stadium is a good place to jump so if the guys catch it they can jump really, really big there,” Rutherford said.
In celebration of Greg’s career and achievements, a limited amount of tickets are available on the back straight of the London Stadium and are priced at £20.12 for adults and £8.51 for children.
See the biggest stars at the Müller Anniversary Games on 21-22 July; for tickets visit: www.britishathletics.org.uk/events-and-tickets/muller-anniversary-games-2018/
Image courtesy of https://www.iaaf.org/athletes/great-britain-ni/greg-rutherford-205345
Great Britain men narrowly lost to third in the world Belgium in their second game of a European tour after drawing 1-1 earlier in the week.
The home side applied pressure early on and were rewarded with a penalty corner eight minutes in, but the home side were unable to convert. It was a Loick Luypaert drag flick that broke the deadlock, giving the Red Lions the lead which was sharply followed by a second from Florent van Aubel to double their advantage. Great Britain’s Harry Gibson was being tested in goal but stayed strong, denying Belgium’s attacking line.
Great Britain opened the second quarter with a wonder goal from Alan Forsyth, showcasing his skills in the circle. The second quarter shaped up to be a thriller with both sides eager for goals. In the dying minutes before the half time whistle the Red Lions had four penalty corners with the fourth being put away by Luypaert to give his side a 3-1 lead.
Into the second half the Red Lions pressed on, but a stop on the line from the Great Britain defence denied them the chance to further their lead. In the end of the third quarter Belgium were on the offensive but GB men worked hard to prevent any further goals. In the 48th minute Tom Boon was one on one with Gibson who did well to deny the Belgian in front of goal. In the 55th minute a Luke Taylor drag flick got Great Britain’s second of the game, and both sides pressed on but it wasn’t enough for more goals, and as the full time whistle was blown it finished 3-2 to Belgium.
Congratulations to Scotland’s Lee Morton who made his senior Great Britain international debut.
Double World Cup medallist Jack Laugher is to head up the team for the European Championships this summer.
Leeds-based Laugher won a bronze in the 3m event last in Wuhan, China last week along with a synchro silver with Chris Mears, is also named in the 15 strong team.
The Olympic and triple Gold Coast 2018 gold medallist said: “The pool in Edinburgh has some great memories for me as it is where I won my first Commonwealth title with Chris.
“It will be great to return and face a new challenge.”
Ross Haslam and Grace Reid, who earned a mixed synchronised bronze at the World Cup, will also be competing in the Championships at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh as part of Glasgow2018.
Sheffield based Haslam said: “This year has already given me the chance to compete in some huge competitions around the world.
“The Commonwealth Games did not pan out the way I wanted but coming back from the World Cup with a medal is an amazing moment I will never forget.
“Now being selected for a Europeans squad will give me the chance to build on these experiences in front of a home crowd who I hope will be cheering me on.”
The full team is:
Scarlett Mew Jensen
Alexei Evangulov, Diving National Performance Director, said: “We have already seen some excellent performances by our divers in 2018 across the FINA Diving World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Diving World Series.
“We have established members of the team, with younger divers who have the chance to make their mark.”
The Glasgow 2018 European Championships will take place from August 2 to 12, with the diving competitions from August 6 to 12.
Glasgow 2018 will run from August 2 to 12 and tickets are still available here.
To find out more about Glasgow 2018 click here.
June 14: Russia v Saudi Arabia (Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Group A) – ITV
June 15: Egypt v Uruguay (Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg, Group A) – BBC
June 15: Morocco v Iran (Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Group B) – ITV
June 15: Portugal v Spain (Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Group B) – BBC
June 16: France v Australia (Kazan Arena, Kazan, Group C) – BBC
June 16: Argentina v Iceland (Otkrytie Arena, Moscow, Group D)- ITV
June 16: Peru v Denmark (Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Group C) – BBC
June 16: Croatia v Nigeria (Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Group D)- ITV
June 17: Costa Rica v Serbia (Samara Arena, Samara, Group E) – ITV
June 17: Germany v Mexico (Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Group F) – BBC
June 17: Brazil v Switzerland (Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don, Group E) – ITV
June 18: Sweden v South Korea (Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Group F) – ITV
June 18: Belgium v Panama (Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Group G) – BBC
June 18: Tunisia v England (Volgograd Arena, Volgograd, Group G) – BBC
June 19: Poland v Senegal (Otkrytie Arena, Moscow, Group H) – ITV
June 19: Colombia v Japan (Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Group H) – BBC
June 19: Russia v Egypt (Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Group A) – BBC
June 20: Portugal v Morocco (Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Group B) – BBC
June 20: Uruguay v Saudi Arabia (Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don, Group A) – BBC
June 20: Iran v Spain (Kazan Arena, Kazan, Group B) – ITV
June 21: France v Peru (Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg, Group C) – ITV
June 21: Denmark v Australia (Samara Arena, Samara, Group C) – ITV
June 21: Argentina v Croatia (Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Group D) – BBC
June 22: Brazil v Costa Rica (Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Group E) – ITV
June 22: Nigeria v Iceland (Volgograd Arena, Volgograd, Group D) – BBC
June 22: Serbia v Switzerland (Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Group E) – BBC
June 23: Belgium v Tunisia (Otkrytie Arena, Moscow, Group G) – BBC
June 23: Germany v Sweden (Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Group F) – ITV
June 23: South Korea v Mexico (Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don, Group F) – ITV
June 24: England v Panama (Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Group G) – BBC
June 24: Japan v Senegal (Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg, Group H) – BBC
June 24: Poland v Colombia (Kazan Arena, Kazan, Group H) – ITV
June 25: Saudi Arabia v Egypt (Volgograd Arena, Volgograd, Group A) – ITV4
June 25: Uruguay v Russia (Samara Arena, Samara, Group A) – ITV
June 25: Iran v Portugal (Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Group B) – BBC
June 25: Spain v Morocco (Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Group B) – BBC
June 26: Australia v Peru (Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Group C) – ITV4
June 26: Denmark v France (Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Group C) – ITV
June 26: Iceland v Croatia (Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don, Group D) – BBC
June 26: Nigeria v Argentina (Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Group D) – BBC
June 27: South Korea v Germany (Kazan Arena, Kazan, Group F) – BBC
June 27: Mexico v Sweden (Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg, Group F) – BBC
June 27: Serbia v Brazil (Otkrytie Arena, Moscow, Group E) – BBC
June 27: Switzerland v Costa Rica (Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Group E) – ITV4
June 28: Japan v Poland (Volgograd Arena, Volgograd, Group H) – BBC
June 28: Senegal v Colombia (Samara Arena, Samara, Group H) – BBC
June 28: England v Belgium (Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Group G) – ITV
June 28: Panama v Tunisia (Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Group G) – ITV4
Round of 16
June 30: Winner Group C v Runner-up Group D (Kazan Arena, Kazan) – ITV
June 30: A1 v B2 (Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi) – ITV
July 1: B1 v A2 (Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow) – BBC
July 1: D1 v C2 (Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod) – ITV
July 2: E1 v F2 (Samara Arena, Samara) – BBC
July 2: G1 v H2 (Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don) – BBC
July 3: F1 v E2 (Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg) – ITV
July 3: H1 v G2 (Otkrytie Arena, Moscow) – BBC
July 6: Winner R16 1 v Winner R16 2 (Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod) – BBC
July 6: Winner R16 5 v Winner R16 6 (Kazan Arena, Kazan) – BBC
July 7: Winner R16 7 v Winner R16 8 (Samara Arena, Samara) – ITV
July 7: Winner R16 3 v Winner R16 4 (Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi) – ITV
July 10: Winner QF1 v Winner QF 2 (Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg) – ITV
July 11: Winner QF3 v Winner QF 4 (Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow) – BBC
July 14: Loser SF1 v Loser SF 2 (Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg) – ITV
July 15: Winner SF1 v Winner SF 2 (Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow) – BBC & ITV