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World’s First Global Esports Skills and Scouting Combine to Launch in March


Shawn Smith

Indianapolis, IN – January 29, 2019 – Indiana-based Harena Data has announced the first of a quarterly series of esports scouting combine events that will invite players from around the world to compete and test their gaming skills in order to find professional esports opportunities and collegiate scholarships.  The first GYO Esports Skills Combine will take place over the course of ten days, from March 1 – March 10.  Over 350 video game centers worldwide will become recruiting hubs and scouting locations for the event and will invite participants to compete in their local or regional gaming centers for prizes, notoriety, and future pro contracts, much like a “Star Search” for esports.  

Esports has matured to a level where it is considered both a sport and a career, much like other professional sports. From a humble start in 1972 with the first Spacewar! tournament, esports has grown quickly, where today, there are professional gamers earning $50,000 salaries in many gaming leagues. For example, in 2018, German gamer KuroKy collected over 4 million dollars in winnings.

Esports are now on a fast track to becoming one of the most popular sports worldwide, but there is a lack of a defined talent farm system for players to pursue professional careers. Through a partnership with ggCircuit LLC., GYO will enable over [350] centers worldwide to serve as recruiting hubs and scouting locations for the events.  “”The global network of ggCircuit gaming centers offers a hotbed of young, passionate esport players in the making”, said Georgina Petrie, Marketing Director of ggCircuit. “Using ggCircuit’s stat tracking and center management software ggLeap to collect data on this untapped talent pool makes total sense.  Centers can now offer another benefit to their gaming customers, outside of socializing with their peers and getting rewards and prizes for simply playing their favorite games.  The GYO Combine event is positioned to potentially help these players turn their passion into a career.” 

Several game titles are supported, including Smite and Paladins, two top esports titles with professional esports leagues operated by Skillshot Media. Skillshot focuses on helping players develop into professional gamers with officially structured leagues and tournaments. To date, Skillshot has paid out over $8M in prizing to professional esports players and over $100,000 in esports scholarship funding has been awarded by Skillshot to college players. Skillshot is supporting the GYO Esports Skills Combine for Smite and Paladins as an event that helps amateur gamers reach new heights.

“We hear from college varsity esports programs that scouting talent is one of their biggest challenges in building a program,” says Skillshot President Todd Harris. “So we are pleased to support platforms and events that help both colleges and aspiring young esports competitors.”

Top tier professional esports organizations and several colleges with esports scholarships have already signed on to look at players within the GYO Esports Skills Combine as a future talent pool.  One of Europe’s most successful esports teams, Nordavind, is among the teams interested in studying the data from the event.  “As in traditional sports - scouting, recruiting and managing talent is an ever changing and important aspect of what means to run a successful organization. With GYO not only did we broaden our search scope, we will also get a hands on feel for how the e-sports community can integrate machine learning and artificial intelligence in their day to day operations, particularly on the player logistics side of things,” said Stein Wilmann, CEO of Nordavind. 

The power behind GYO and the Esports Skills Combine is a scoring algorithm that takes into account personal performance versus team performance. The platform puts the power back into the player's hands by lessening the penalties of poor teammate play and overall win-loss record. By utilizing GYO, gamers are gaining access to deeper analytics, and then putting their play history in front of thousands of colleges, recruiters, pro esports scouts, and teams seeking players.

The GYO Esports Skills Combine applies these core skill principals to an event that asks players to give their best performance in order to be analyzed. A combine is usually a term associated with professional sports leagues like the NFL, and is a combination of certain specific conditioning drills to determine speed, strength, and skill level of the player, depending on the sport. These tests display an athlete’s skills to coaches and scouts interested in evaluating the athlete.  The GYO Esports Skills Combine accomplishes the same goals, but uses data analytics points rather than stopwatches and measuring tape.

"We're giving the power back to the players by shining the light on their play and their skills, and giving them a real chance to be discovered by professional teams, scouts, and college recruiters," says Shawn Smith, CEO of Harena Data Inc.

He adds, "For years, gamers have struggled to understand what exactly they need to do to prove to the world that they are competing at the highest level.This event gives them a chance to grab the spotlight and to put them on a path to excellence and achievement."

At the conclusion of the Combine, consenting gamers will have their compiled esports data sent directly to over 100 colleges with esports scholarships, and over 300 professional esports teams and organizations worldwide for potential recruitment.

For further information, or to register for the GYO Open Beta program, please visit: https://gyo.gg/

About Harena Data, Inc
Harena Data is a Delaware corporation with registered headquarters located in Franklin, Indiana. Founded in 2017, the company has developed a machine learning and artificial intelligence data platform for the esports industry, which launched at the end of 2018. The principals of Harena Data have a strong background in esports, event management, motion picture production, and telecommunications.

About ggCircuit LLC
ggCircuit LLC started out as a grassroots movement by a group of passionate LAN Center owners/managers that wanted to provide better management software for esports centers, cybercafes, universities and LAN centers worldwide.  Drawing on their collective experience they developed a state-of-the-art software management system, ggLeap, that was not only easy and flexible for centers to use but delivered end user features that kept gamers engaged and offered more than they would get by playing at home.  Since 2008, ggCircuit LLC has provided nationwide tournaments through their ggCircuit Seasons competition system using ggLeap. In 2013, ggCircuit evolved into a global competition and reward system adopted by LAN centers around the world. The first version of the ggLeap esports center management software launched in 2016 which brought the world of center management software, global competition, and prize redemption all into one package. Ever since then, ggLeap has been continually iterated upon to offer better functionality and features for both managers and gamers.

About Skillshot
Based in Alpharetta, GA, Skillshot provides a turnkey esports solution for leading competitive titles, including online and offline tournament organization, industry-leading esports production and active community management. Skillshot has more than five years of esports experience in hosting thousands of global competitors, paying out millions in tournament prizing and serving more than one billion esports views to date.

About Nordavind
Nordavind is a Nordic esports organisation located in Oslo, Norway. Founded in 2017 under the ownership of Magni Sports AS and New Meta AS, and in collaboration with Vålerenga Football AS, Nordavind has inherited the legacy of former Norwegian e-sports club, BX3. The organisation shares facilities with its football club counterpart at the Intility Arena.

Suscribing to a line of thought coined 'Downloaded Minimalism', Nordavind strives to harmonise traditional Scandinavian design virtues with iconic imagery and technological shrewdness while bridging the gap between traditional and electronic sports.

Humble, confident, competent - speak softly and carry a big stick.

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