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Volume 22 No. 23

Esports

Motorsport Network is making major changes to the executive structure of 704Games, installing former CEO Colin Smith as president of the NASCAR video game licensee.

Motorsport Network revealed in August last year that it had invested in 704Games, but the size of the stake was not disclosed. However, the company has now confirmed that Motorsport Network has a majority stake in 704Games, and the company this week will announce the executive changes as it starts to implement its vision.

Smith becomes president, replacing Ed Martin, who will move to the position of managing director of esports. Additionally, CEO Paul Brooks, a former longtime NASCAR executive, will move into a non-executive chairman role.

“We took our time to get a better understanding of the business, the relationship with NASCAR and where opportunities lie, and we didn’t want to rush into any decisions,” said Smith, the former NASCAR Digital Media executive who had been serving in a consulting role for Motorsport Network since he gave up the CEO role last year. “At the same time, we have bigger expectations for the company, so we needed to make sure that 704Games — because it’s such an important part of our global strategy — had the right people in place.”

Smith said 704Games is not yet profitable, in part because of investments being made in growing its esports presence, but expects to reach profitability this year.

704Games’ major video game property is “NASCAR Heat,” which will release its fourth iteration this year, and the company is involved in launching the new eNASCAR Heat Pro League. That league is NASCAR’s first major entry into console-based esports competitions. 704Games has a 10-year licensing agreement with NASCAR that lasts through 2029.

704Games is making esports a major pillar of its strategy and plans to launch multiple additional amateur leagues on top of the new pro version, which attracted around 10,000 entrants for the first season. The league held the draft for the pro league last week at ISM Raceway.

Other hirings being announced this week are Stephen Wang being brought on as esports and mobile marketing manager, and Zane Lovett being named community manager. Motorsport Network also made two new hires in the esports space with Stephen Hood and Ben Rossiter-Turner.

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.