Charlie Allen, who was the head of the global Brand Partnerships division for ESL in London, has started an Esports agency called Road House, intending to bring brand partners into what he describes as the “open ecosystem of Esports”. Throughout his career, Allen has worked in similar roles, working for Fox Networks Group as the head of their global commercial partnerships team for Fox Sports and in a media and sponsorship position at CSM Sport & Entertainment.
The agency’s main concept is to utilise Allen’s knowledge of the industry to work with non-endemic brands and bring them into the Esports scene.
Road House will also work with endemic brands who want to “raise their profile” via hosting tournaments or creating teams, and esports marketing in general. Most of what Allen does revolves around helping brands that are entirely outside of the gaming sphere navigate the very specific demographics and events present in Esports.
What Road House Brings to Esports
The main goal of this company and, according to Allen, most people working in the Esports industry, is to “take esports to the mainstream and make it as successful as it can possibly be”. Esports these days is a billion-dollar industry, but many still see it as a niche market, with a barrier to entry for global brands due to overall esoterica associated with competitive gaming. Allen describes this on his website as “the complexities of its audience” and suggests that Road House will endeavour to help companies understand the “tech savvy communities that drive it.”
And yes, the company’s name Road House does appear to come from the 1989 film of the same name, as evidenced by the Road House website stating that they will “throw in some celebratory roundhouses” after matching clients with esports opportunities.
We will probably start to see many companies like Road House pop up in the world of Esports as it attempts to break through into the public consciousness in the coming years. However, Road House will undoubtedly benefit from Charlie Allen’s 20 years of experience in the industry and his crossover experience from the world of Fox Sports. If the goal is to ‘legitimise’ Esports in the eyes of the public, then Allen has the credentials to make non-endemic businesses and consumers feel more at ease entering the burgeoning market.