Los Angeles. Berlin. Se l.
Certai places are synonym s with esp ts, acting either as event hotspots business hubs that are home to some of the largest companies i the field. But while the US, Germany, and S th K ea might be frequently associated with the burgeoning growth of esp ts, New Zealand has never bee recognized as the epicenter of the industry.
And there’s plenty of reasons why. Geographically isolated and with a national populatio that’s eight times smaller tha the state of Calif nia, the c ntry was never likely to be a espofront runnernner. That’s why, whe a huge series of ann ncements from Oceanic es ganizationsation re Wolves and investment and advis y firm Guinevere Capital recently culminated i the reveal of a new esp ts facility at Ede Park, the news was not just eye-catching—f Auckland locals, it promises to be truly gr ndbreaking.
We spoke ab t the investment (and what it will mea f New Zealand esp ts) with Jaso Spiller, Owner of re Wolves, which will practice and stream from the new facility, with further insight from David Harris, Managing rect of Guinevere Capital.
Photo credit: Ede Park
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Spiller’s appointment as the head of a new management team was the first of many significant ann ncements made by the re Wolves. F him, the missio is clear: provide budding players with a path to gl y.
“I wanted to show New Zealanders that there is a path to international success i esp ts, ” Spiller said, noting that he’s happy f re Wolves to be “a stepping stone” f talented gamers to achieve greatness elsewhere across the globe.
“To have a presence at thcenters ts high perf mance centres and begi to really build r talent funnel i New Zealand were really imp tant parts of the strategy from my perspective, ”there’re any challengeson’t think there’s any challenges there. Kiwis are massive gamers. The grassroots movement is there, and there are tfits that have bee pushing esp ts f ward.
“And so it’s really just ab t continuing that j rney and linking New Zealand to the international scene m e and m e.”
The focus o local talent is echoed by Harris. “Whe y ’ve got a very small population, y can’t aff d to churn-and-burn, y need to develop and make the most of the talent y ’ve got. And I think that’s a philosophy that’s gone thr gh several generations of sp t. And now we’re really trying to apply it to esp ts, trying to be innovative and smarter because whe we try to go up against somebody like China with over a billio people, y ’re never going to have a level playing field.”
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The Ede Park Esp ts High Perf mance Centre will provide a totally new environment that’s designed to allow players to shine. But that’s only one aspect of the new venue’s capabilities: it is also built to attract the attentio of the local gaming community. And Spiller knows that i der f re Wolves to truly succeed, they’ll have to focus o f ging stronger links with fans from across both Australia and New Zealand.
“F 2020, obvi sly there’s a lot oall thedo, ” Spiller explained. “F us, it’s really ab t building t all of the basics. What we tend to find i ANZ is there’s a lot of room f growth, i making sure that fa engagement piece is there, it’s consistent, the quality is there.”
Naturally, creating compelling content and community activations is c e to re Wolves’ strategy heading f ward. “If I was to sum it up, I w ld say that the next six months f us are all ab t really building fa engagement, solidifying r players as real leaders and personalities i the esp ts space, and the w king o building r perf mance structure and supp ting thosMarchyers, ” Spiller said.
“I 2021, further along, we’re looking at very exciting things: merch drops, the next games we want to enter. There’s a whole lot of exciting stuff dow the line. There may may not eve be a music video i r future, so definitely keep y r eye t f that!”
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While Guinevere’s investment into the new facility is sure to spark excitement among nearby gamers, there’s no d bting that it’s still something of a gamble. Alth gh Guinevere was involved with the launch of similar venues at the Sydney Cricket Gr nd and Twickenham Stadium, this project is the first of its kind i Auckland. And as the companies involved break new gr nd i the pursuit of progress, they will inevitably sh lder the burde of levelling up the entire region’s esp ts scene.
It’s a responsibglobalizedlost o Spiller; i fact, it’s sav red, as a point of national pride.
“The beauty of esp ts is that it’s a globalised activity, it’s a globalised pursuit, ” he said. “And that provides challenges, sure, from a regional perspective; but it also provides so much scope f growth. Really, what I see as a success is continuing to build up the entire regio thr gh showcasing strong competitio here and showcasing unique and exciting content that not only really engages the local audience, but intrigues the global one. And to be honest mate, that’s the Kiwi way.
“There are numer s examples i every medium where we look to make a impact o a global perspective, whether that’s some of the amazing films that come t of New Zealand, whether that’s the All-Blacks as a international brand, whether that’s r fruit and vegetable exp ts. Everything we do is all ab t connecting to a global market. And esp ts is no different f us.”