Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE), the owners of the Overwatch League (OWL)’s Gladiators and the Call of Duty League (CDL)’s Guerillas, announced on Friday that it will open a new operations facility in Playa Vista, Calif. to be called “The Keep,” and that the company will be renaming its esports division “The Guard.”
In addition, the company is launching a team for Valorant, a first-person shooter game that is quickly growing in popularity among esports fans and competitors.
The rebrand is an attempt to better link the company’s existing teams in fans’ minds.
“We had to come up with a brand that really felt like it could encapsulate all of our brands under one roof,” senior vice president Alex Rubens told Sports Business Journal. “I think our thesis, since the very beginning, has been trying to tie all of the brands together under a central mindset. And so for us that was that the Gladiators are warriors, Guerrillas are also warriors in their own right, powerful. We wanted something that can contain all of those and really be a part of it, hence, ‘The Guard.'”
Rubens also pointed out that the facility can be a mechanism for engaging with fans in the Los Angeles area. Housing office and competitive space like most other esports facilities, The Guard feels The Keep will stand out from the competition by being fan-centric.
“We have a large area in the back with its own roll-up door that fans will be able to enter for our watch parties and other events,” Rubens said. “We’ll have the store back there too, but that isn’t the coolest part. It’s truly a fan-centric space in that it’s not a closed off area. It’s actually fully open to the rest of our office. It’ll obviously have barriers and people won’t be able to walk in and sit down at a desk and just hang out. But, the goal here is that fans can really see the whole of what we’re doing and that it truly is transparent, really open. We’re able to prove to them that we care about them as fans, not just as dollar signs.”
The Keep will ultimately be a holdover as The Guard plan to eventually move to an even newer facility in Hollywood Park.
–Field Level Media