Esports organization Counter Logic Gaming held its first fan fest last night at the Theatre at MSG, drawing more than 500 fans for a meet and greet with players, as well as opportunities to play games and buy merchandise. At the event, which featured CLG’s League of Legends players, its Super Smash Bros. players and Founder & President George “HotshotGG” Georgallidis, MSG Co. transformed the lobby of the theatre to feature a gaming station. MSG Co. in July acquired a controlling stake in the organization, which fields the oldest active League of Legends team, in addition to competing in Super Smash Bros., Counter Strike and Overwatch. MSG Sports Exec VP Jordan Solomon said the company has been in talks with CLG to have the organization come to N.Y. and interact with a fervent League of Legends fanbase. Due to playing schedules, it was only able to set up this event about three weeks ago. Even with the short window, and less than $100 spent marketing the event, Solomon said the great turnout showcased the potential of the partnership. “It’s one of the many things that is compelling about the esports ecosystem and working with such a big brand like CLG -- we can relatively quick and easily send out a message through social channels, and you see the reaction from fans,” Solomon said. He noted the event also was an opportunity for some of MSG’s corporate partners to see the excitement of esports as well. More than a dozen potential partners were in attendance. Solomon: "For non-endemic partners, we’ve been spending a lot of time introducing them to CLG and how MSG is approaching esports, and this was a great opportunity to showcase not only how we’re helping to build the CLG brand in New York, but also globally.” Georgallidis said both he and the players were impressed at not only how the event was set up, but also by the passion of the fans, many of whom lined up as early as two hours before the event was scheduled to start. “Working with MSG has been game changing for us. Just overnight, we have unlocked parts of our business just through the support of MSG that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise,” he said.
MORE EMPHASIS COMING TO THE EAST: Georgallidis said that while CLG is based on the West Coast, where many gaming events are held, he hopes that the outreach to the East Coast continues, especially as more stadium competitions are scheduled. With League of Legends’ season wrapping this fall, Solomon said MSG Co. will treat the offseason like it would for the Knicks or Rangers on the business-side, working on partnerships looking to further build out its profile as part of the MSG sports family. “From a New York perspective, we believe there is real opportunity in regionalization and want people to know that CLG is MSG’s newest home team,” he said. “If there is a fan in New York who hasn’t yet picked a team for esports or wants to support the city, we want them to be fans of CLG.”