Hello everyone, Shawn here to report on what Tier 1 is, what is it up to and where we are going in the Esports sub-organization.
Going to try to keep this as short as possible:
Tier 1 is going to go through another name change and shift in product focus to expand beyond talent management in video games.
Tier 1 was originally purpose-built to bring new talent to HCS and provide full 360-circle details into the innerworkings of legal and operations to how to market personal brands and building a network. With confidence in many players I met through ONI, some that I believe can acquire and do more than show up to training having consistently scored high in matchmaking, with the right attitude and outlook it seemed very possible to aim high and bring recognition to our name. I intended on bringing teams to compete on a world stage and at the end of Halo 5: Guardians was able to bring a Top 12 placement to under our previous name Operator Esports with Sneaky Bran, Nebula, Eli Elite, Pilez and iAwolski as our coach. Releasing our team later to Falling Esports.
As its owner and founder I see it as an extension of looking to play more competitively but helping others with more drive, passion and time to compete where I can't. This was and has always been received underwhelmingly as some short stop pivot to play the game as it is intended from the prior role playing narratives followed (where we had a larger member base). I understood that this is the wrong crowd, revaluated my options and pursued an individual organization to again introduce players to my network of tournament organizers and other professionals in the space to build a career. I am proud to share success bringing people together to focus on goals beyond clans and even make more friends for myself, networking throughout the Halo championship series with players, coaches and tournament organizers.
When Halo Infinite released, with it a partnership program in the league was introduced. Partnered teams have invested “into the future of the Halo esports ecosystem” and are entitled to revenue sharing, priority access to filming content at events, and future perks not yet outlined. Basically partnered teams can do whatever they want, only really investing in a designer to add the brand identity into the game in the form of skins, which when bought become a revenue generating event between both parties. According to the HCS team, they are looking for teams that “have a proven track record of supporting rosters in other games or even Halo.” They’re also looking for teams and organizations with impressive social media and content strategies, in addition to ones that are invested in Halo content creators. This transparently details that smaller companies will not meet the mark, regardless of what is done around the scene and so a pivot from the conventional is needed. The caveats though span across several controversial actions partnered teams commit too. FNATIC not fielding a team until mid-season and one out of its native region. FAZE hosting a tournament themselves, backing it in its hat tipping to other teams. SENTINELS hosting an invitational event and other prominent giveaways.
The lead for Halo Esports at 343/Microsoft is Tahir “Tashi” Hasandjekic and while his work is honest, hard and excruciating; literally being baptized in fire he is managing the front to this operation in what is a mismanaged launch of the game plagued with issues existing for 9 months with no answers. This combined with the arid responses to be transparent yet implicative of no future planning in the league beyond Worlds brings speculation that he isn't on our side and leaves more room for distrust between him/HCS and the message he publishes for org owners, shareholders behind these orgs and fans all the same. Kanasas City Pioneers, XSET and many more larger orgs than us leave HCS creating opportunity to field a team but with no promise to the success of the league.
The advertisement industry is scaling back in the esports space, which comes to no surprise as the by-definition recession is in full effect. While the billion dollar industry that is esport is increasing at 14% per year, brand deals, partner/sponsorships and merchandising are the main forms of revenue for any org and with advertisements slowly in decline the effort is harder to establish and grow. Brand deals do not come without influence and merchandising is not profitable without community or story. To most this isn't so hard to understand but Tier 1 is no where near organized to succeed and that is a needed change.
Now, living in Japan it is x10 harder to manage and sustain an esports org when the best business practice for me is to personally make every connection with partners, sponsors and investors. Most fans agree "Tier 1" is a moniker reserved for esports titles with the largest ecosystems, viewership, brand partnership deals and prize pools. That naming this Tier 1 despite its military influence and significance isn't ideal as a name especially in contrast to the resources we have and already existing titan brand Tier One Entertainment. A name change is exhilarating as it is stressful and with the goal to continue to watch how HCS will play out until worlds we can properly plan for and create a successful business model.
Next season will be an exercise of all we analyzed to the successes we see and I invite everyone to be apart of this success, sticking around and following our social medias.
With all that is said, while undergoing this change I will 100% post and be completely transparent in all of the processes for those curious what goes into registering a business, changing its name and where things need to be to execute the code. I am still expecting to close deals with the same partners before local small businesses in Atlanta, GA with the base of operations also in the state of Georgia, while the challenge is present for me physically being in Japan I will also be looking for business partners stateside that can carry and have an interested in making a career out of this, but pursuing their dream with mine together, so if you are interested in getting some experience let me know!
P.S. Sorry this wasn't as short as I was hoping it to be.