What do Wyclef Jean, Rekkles and Robert Davi have in common? They’re all signed up for representation with the Orlando John agency. The Stockholm based company recently made its first move in esports signing deals with the likes of NiP, Olofmeister, Rekkles, HeaTon and more.
After meeting with Orlando John himself we had a chat about the agency’s plans in the space, the deals with NiP and co., and what esports teams and players can get from partnering with talent representation.
Esports Insider: Why do esports players and teams need representation?
Orlando John: Just like with other sports we at Orlando John feel esports players need representation to maximise their potentials. Whether that’s in commercial ventures or actual player representation for a team switch, or other major changes in their careers, an agency can help.
“Our base of operations is Stockholm but it’s just a practical base. I wouldn’t look at cities but as a country Sweden has a lot of top (esports) talent”
We agents are there to take that burden off their shoulders so that they can put full focus on what they do best.
ESI: Tell us about the story of the Orlando John agency, you now represent the likes of Wyclef Jean but it wasn’t always like this…
Orlando: The agency started as a one man organisation. I did everything from putting tours together, promoting shows and booking all the advance around a tour.
“Just like with other sports we at Orlando John feel esports players need representation to maximise their potentials”
It wasn’t for six years that I started building a proper team and, as of today, we are 13 full time employees with three offices covering most of the world. It has been a interesting journey to say the least. Today we represent talent within film, music, TV and esports that include Grammy winners and top Hollywood talent but for most an esports roster I’m personally very proud of.
ESI: Is media training a part of your work with esports players? After all they won’t typically come as ‘refined’ as stars in other more established industries such as music, film and sports..
Orlando: We as an agency do not provide media training but we often recommend our clients to find help to this end and we have several specialists within our network.
It’s important to mention that this is not unique for just esports profiles. We have both live music and film profiles that often need help with media training. Even some of the profiles who have done it for many years sometimes need some extra help!
ESI: What is the local esports scene like in Stockholm? Which cities do you see as leading the way in esports in Europe?
Orlando: Our focus as an agency is global. Our base of operations is Stockholm but it’s just a practical base. Our players are spread out with some living in Stockholm but most of them are in other cities and even outside of Sweden.
To answer your question, I wouldn’t look at cities necessarily but as a country as a whole Sweden has a lot of top talent. I would say Sweden takes a pretty big part of the lead in the Western world.
ESI: You kicked off in esports with some big names as clients – NiP, Rekkles, HeatoN and more…how much legwork went into these deals and can you tell us exactly what you’ll be doing for them?
Orlando: We put together a short list of talent that we would like to represent. We picked them based on their games and their position in the market long term.
“We also ensure that we’re protecting our clients by advising them what brands or what deals would work best for them in the long term”
So far we have signed everyone on our short list and we are naturally pretty happy about this! As an agency we’re responsible for all commercial ventures for our clients. In a nutshell we are responsible for connecting our clients with commercial brands in the form of sponsorship or endorsement deals. A key part of our work involves chasing brands and explaining to them why they should pick an esports profile over another type of profile. That said, we also ensure that we’re protecting our clients by advising them what brands or what deals should work best for them in the long term.
ESI: In your view what elements do esports tournaments and events need to add to make them more attractive to a wider audience? Do they need to become more all-encompassing festival type experiences? Esports is entertainment after all…
Orlando: The current leading esports tournaments promoters have done a great job already but I feel there is a huge potential audience yet to be reached. They can be reached by getting music, TV and film profiles involved and connecting them to the global esports profiles.
“I would love to see a bigger connection between music and esports but I also see a natural connection within the film/TV world”
Coming from the music world originally I would love to see a bigger connection between music and esports but I also see a natural connection within the film/TV world. There is a whole list of ideas we at Orlando John have thought about but we won’t disclose them just in case if our potential competitors are reading this!