VaynerGaming Announced, Fortnite Champ Bugha Recruited
Now, this is exciting news! VaynerSports, just a week after expanding into baseball, has launched a new division, VaynerGaming. When starting a new esports division, you need to have some landmark names attached to it. Creating buzz is important after all! So VaynerSports’ co-founders Gary and AJ Vaynerchuk recruited the inaugural Fortnite World Cup winner, Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf for VaynerGaming!
That is one serious recruit. What does this all mean though? Let’s discuss it.
What Does It All Mean?
VaynerSports started in 2016 as a football agency. They have had some pretty major names in the NFL under their banner, but they continue to try and find ways to disrupt the traditional sports landscape. So just a week after expanding into baseball, they also shift their eyes towards esports! There is perhaps even more on the way in terms of announcements, but for now, let’s look at what is most interesting: esports!
Gary Vaynerchuk discussed in a press release, which led to this:
“I have been quietly paying attention to the gaming industry for over a decade, building relationships and following the trends. One of the most exciting things about it, for me, is the gamers themselves. And when I look at the culture, the interest in the sector from other athletes, artists, celebrities – it is enormous. This is a very significant expansion for VaynerSports.”
So when you want to find a flagship esports player, why not look at someone who was the first at something? You also have to consider games that have national/global appeal. Enter Fortnite, and Bugha. No matter how you personally feel about Fortnite, there’s no denying how much sway the game has over the industry. Then there’s Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, and his coming under the VaynerGaming banner.
Bugha is the 2019 Esports Gamer of the Year and had practical overnight success in the Fortnite World Cup last summer. That 3 million dollar prize, and being recognized as the top Fortnite player in the world? That is nothing to sneeze at. Reed Bergman, managing partner at VaynerTalent oversaw the initial representation until VaynerGaming launched this month.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating and lucrative parts of being a big-name esports personality are the sponsorships. So who did VaynerGaming secure for Bugha? Bergman and VaynerSports Executive VP Mike Neligan worked together for long-term partnerships with Samsung, Mondelez, and Five Below (retail chain). If that’s not enough, he also had an appearance in the Sabra Hummus Super Bowl commercial, which was produced by VaynerMedia.
The Team Behind the Scenes
VaynerGaming will be led by a veteran in the gaming industry, Darren Glover. He’ll work alongside Neligan and VaynerSports Co-CEO, AJ Vaynerchuk. Glover isn’t new to esports and has helped professional athletes, celebrities, and esports stars build their communities in the gaming world.
Darren also spoke about this partnership and what it means as a whole:
“While lucrative, the gaming industry is still the wild wild west and unlike other sports, relevancy is not necessarily tied strictly to performance or wins and losses. I don’t believe anyone has a better ‘secret sauce’ than what Gary and the Vayner ecosystem does for brands, talent, and professional athletes. I’m extremely excited to implement that strategy on behalf of esports athletes, gaming content creators, and VaynerSports athletes as we launch a first of its kind agency division.”
Tyler Schmitt, Gary’s Office of the CEO has served as Bugha’s day-to-day manager and will continue to aid the VaynerGaming team for future clients. As someone who clearly already has experience in this field, he will no doubt be an asset to their team.
Rounding out this news is the announcement that the man who helped lead content development for Bugha’s brand is joining the VaynerSports’ team on the Gaming side. Brandon Hatcher has helped to yield more than 300% social media growth for Bugha over the past nine months. What is fascinating about this is how they’ve come from the traditional sports side of things.
Something that esports players have lacked it seems is people that understand the importance of mental and physical well-being. Sports organizations for years have employed psychologists and trainers to make sure their players are happy and fit, ready to take on the world. We can only imagine that this agency will help the esports stars of the future in that regard.
It is our hope that they guide Bugha to further success, as well as other top/upcoming esports stars. The VaynerSports method of doing business has been successful so far in the traditional sports arena, so we’ll see how they convert over to the world of esports. We hope for nothing but success for Bugha and whomever else they recruit!