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Volume 25 No. 30
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Delaware North Buys Stake In E-Sports Team Splyce, Looks To Make Inroads In Boston

Delaware North Cos. has acquired a minority stake in the Rochester-based e-sports franchise Splyce, and hopes to market the team as Boston’s own gaming brand. The parent company of TD Garden and the Bruins has an option after 120 days to buy a controlling interest. DNC CMO Todd Merry said in either case, the company will keep the team's management on, including CEO Marty Strenczewilk. Merry: "We thought it was mostly important to buy the people. I know that some people have gone out and built their teams. But we wanted to buy that knowledge and expertise, and that’s an important part of the deal." Splyce was founded in '15 as Follow eSports, but rebranded after it acquired a spot in the top-tier European "League of Legends" series. In addition, it fields teams in "Counter Strike:Global Offensive," "Super Smash Brothers Melee," "Call of Duty," "Gears of War," "World of Warcraft," "Overwatch," "Hearthstone" and "Starcraft 2." Splyce will be overseen by TD Garden President Amy Latimer. Like other pro teams who have bought e-sports franchises, the Bruins will assist Splyce in sales, marketing and merchandising. They hope to ultimately host major e-sports events at TD Garden as well.

BRINGING EXPERIENCE: Merry said he believes DNC's concession business brings additional value to the e-sports space. For instance, Columbus' Nationwide Arena, which uses DNC for concessions, hosted a "CS:GO" major last spring. Merry: "We know what it’s like to service these fans. They’re different. They’re at events 12 hours a day, three days in a row.” The long-term vision is for Splyce to become intimately connected to the Bruins and Boston sports in general. Merry said, "The industry is moving toward geography-based teams, and I think our longer-term vision, assuming everything goes the right way, is that this will be a Boston team. While today they’re all over the globe and headquartered in Rochester, in a perfect world, they become Boston’s e-sports team.” Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Splyce is owned by its management and Excell Partners, a N.Y.-based seed investment fund.