For any sporting organisation to thrive in recent times, they have to have taken risks and driven a fan-first culture.
Arguably Australian professional sport’s fastest growing entity, ORDER, heralds from esports and has publicly announced they’re opening up their Series B funding.
Established in December 2017, ORDER created industry waves by becoming the world’s first crowdfunded esports organisation, allowing gaming fans the unique opportunity to partake directly in their success as part owners.
“From the beginning we were intent on being an organisation for the gaming community; we exist first and foremost for the fans.
We offered gamers an opportunity to hold ownership in our brand and truly partake in our victories, both in game and in business,” commented Gerard Murphy, Founder of ORDER.
Building on the interest garnered from the campaign, ORDER opened up Series A funding in 2018 which saw a number of prominent investors participate.
These include Scott Shedden (OZ Design Furniture), Ryan Trainor (Adventus), Adrian Giles (Adslot, Fortress Esports) Brodie Arnhold (iSelect, Shaver Shop, Endota), Andrew Sharp (EPG) and BlueRock.
The series completed last year at $1.4million AUD.
When asked about his choice to invest in esports and ORDER, OZ Design Furniture Director Scott Shedden acknowledged that while the industry’s audience data is nascent, he has full confidence in the future of the category and ORDER in particular.
“We didn’t get in for the numbers, as gamers ourselves we got in based on knowing it was going to grow, and wanting to be associated with the best.
With the professional structure ORDER provides through an experienced board of directors and, more importantly, their managers who are passionate experts in the esports space and deeply connected with the community, we knew we were in good hands.
It was an investment in the people more than anything else.”
Now two and half years on from launch, the organisation has accelerated into being one of the most recognisable esports brands in Oceania.
This is accredited to their extensive, in-house expertise and professionalism when approaching partnerships with players, publishers and brands.
What makes ORDER special?
“One of the key decisions an esports organisation needs to consistently review are the titles and players we choose to invest in, and just as importantly, which to cut loose.
As an esports organisation, we have the adaptability to stay at the forefront of game and social media trends,’ stated Jake Tiberi, General Manager of ORDER.
This approach has led to ORDER securing top gaming talent across an array of titles, such as League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Rocket League and Street Fighter, resulting in numerous triumphs and international appearances.
Beyond coveting their top tier professionals, ORDER also established a partnership with Monash University in 2019 to form a team in publishing powerhouse Riot Games’ Oceanic Challenger Series.
This gives students real competitive experience within a supported environment with the goal of encouraging the next wave of Australian talent in League of Legends.
Riot Games shared their ringing endorsement of the organisation when they selected ORDER as their local partner to host the first Oceanic VALORANT Open – part of the global VALORANT Ignition Series.
“We selected ORDER based on the professionalism and quality of their partnership bid,” stated Chris Schubert, Head of Esports at Riot Games, Oceania.
“ORDER has extensive experience in the space and a thorough understanding of the community, and they demonstrated strong alignment with both the values and quality bar we were striving towards for the first official VALORANT tournament in Oceania.”
The club’s community focus belies an underlining commercial awareness and the two go hand in hand.
Their in-depth understanding of the fan relationship has secured ORDER continued success with investors and brands looking to develop within the esports market.
In March this year, ORDER announced their partnership with Logitech G to promote the brand’s range of gaming peripherals.
This announcement followed on from their exclusive hardware partnership with Dell’s gaming subsidiary Alienware, telecommunications partner Optus and PUMA.
In 2019, PUMA became the organisation’s official apparel partner with a two-year deal exclusive to the Australian market, and has since released an ORDER-branded apparel line.
Despite their success, ORDER are well aware they are only at the start of their journey, with unparalleled potential for growth as more fans are enticed to play, watch and follow esports.
In recent times, the impact of Covid-19, has seen a significant spike in esports and video gaming interest, both globally and in Australia.
A recent Nielsen report found 82% of global consumers played video games and watched video game content during the height of the pandemic lockdowns.
Twitch, justifiably known as the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers, saw engagement in the US more than double between January and March as hours grew from 13 million to 31 million.
Shedden, believes this increase will help dissipate some of the negative assumptions made of gaming.
“There’s definitely misconceptions around the lifestyle and vision of what a gamer is and now that parents have been home-bound with their teenage children and watched them game, they may have a more informed understanding of what this amazing industry is really all about.”
Murphy confirmed that business enquiries into the industry had seen a massive increase.
“We’ve been inundated with people seeking to get involved in esports, and are fielding interest from a range of investors who have suddenly identified gaming as an investment priority”.
While originally the organisation had planned to publicly open its Series B funding round in 2021, the current conditions alongside the significant partner and sponsorship milestones achieved, has prompted Murphy to move their plans forward.
“We’ve decided to accelerate our timeline by launching Series B funding now to implement our global expansions plans earlier.
As an esports organisation we have the adaptability to stay at the forefront, developing and expanding on gaming and social media trends to a highly engaged market of consumers.
Our research and experience indicate that now is the time to take the next step and we are excited by what the future holds.”