It’s no secret that esports participation has grown dramatically during the pandemic (given lockdowns and people wanting fun distractions) although estimates vary widely as to just how many participants there are and what the valuation of the industry is. But no one would argue that hundreds of millions of enthusiasts engage in esports globally.
Now New York’s esports organization Andbox has rebranded as “NYXL.” The company is dedicated to creating experiences and developing content that connects the worlds of esports, gaming culture, and lifestyle for the modern gamer.
That effort meshes well with the marketing side where brands are boosting and trying to optimize investments in the space. WPP, and agencies at Omnicom, Dentsu and other firms have invested millions over the past year ramping up esports practices to serve clients better in the space.
NYXL is investing a lot too—in the high seven figures—to build a new headquarters in Manhattan that it has dubbed “XLHQ.”
The organization will also launch YXL, their Young Creator Project, an annual initiative that discovers, supports and promotes the next generation of New York digital content creators, pledging $500,000 to the program. That announcement was made today by NYXL CEO James Frey and CCO Mitchell Smith.
Founded in 2017, NYXL claims it was the first organization to bring professional esports to New York City, managing four NYC teams and representing a city-specific ethos to the world through all forms of content and its social channels, live events, and streetwear style. The company’s rebrand puts New York front and center, as NYXL brings New York’s distinct culture and attitude to the world of gaming and esports. NYXL says it is committed to making the city a leading gaming destination, with its headquarters featuring a practice facility and event venue that will serve as a hub for the gaming community, content creators, and live experiences.
The team behind NYXL has a lot of experience in film, television, entertainment and sports, and is committed to bringing storytelling to esports in a way that hasn’t been done before, they say.
In addition to Frey and Smith, leadership includes President and co-Founder Farzam Kamel, Chief Product Officer and co-Founder Rohit Gupta, Executive Board member and co-Founder Scott Wilpon, former COO of the New York Mets and owner of the Overwatch League esports team.
Members of the advisory board also include former Turner President David Levy and Mike Sepso, CEO of Vindex and co-founder of Major League Gaming; with key investors Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman, Michael B. Jordan, Pohlad Companies (owner of the Minnesota Twins), Allen & Company, the founders of Warby Parker, Harry’s, Giphy, and Dapper Labs.
The company’s expanded presence in New York was applauded by city officials. “NYXL’s rebranding and new Manhattan headquarters signal their commitment to digital game development in NYC, the creative capital of the world,” said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Anne del Castillo.
“A major economic driver, employer and content creator, the digital game industry in NYC supports more than $2 billion in economic output and $762 million in wages, serving as an important component of our city’s economic recovery plan,” del Castillo added.