When 42-year-old multiple boxing champion Manny Pacquiao announced his career end via video on Facebook in September, he did not mention that he was now preparing for a completely different fight: Manny Pacquiao eSports.
A few days earlier, Pacquiao had declared that he would accept his party’s nomination as the Philippines’ presidential candidate. Now, however, he took one of those swipes that no one sees coming beforehand. In a press conference streamed online, he stunned thousands of viewers by unveiling Team Pacquiao GG (TPGG).
A former boxing pro becomes a presidential candidate and starts an eSports team. Not an industry-standard career. On the other hand, actually pretty consistent. Southeast Asia has about 42.5 million eSports fans, 6.4 million of them alone. Only Indonesia and Vietnam record larger fan bases in the region, and the betting markets are huge
eSports conquers Southeast Asia
The Manny Pacquiao eSports Team is a joint venture with UK-based Veloce Group – distributor of Veloce Esports products, provider of Veloce Racing and Quadrant with Formula 1 driver Lando Norris.
Veloce also represents other eSports teams for Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, McLaren and for the government of Abu Dhabi. There are also official collaborations with EA Sports, Formula 1 and William Morris.
Rupert Svendsen-Cook, CEO at Veloce, was suitably delighted with the latest coup:
“Team Pacquiao is our first joint venture in Asia, and we’re proud to be building something there that sets new standards in the region. This can only be done with an incredibly creative talent and with the superstar himself: Manny Pacquiao.”
The Manny Pacquiao eSports Team
Each member will take on his or her own tasks, some of which will be multiple. Gian Lois “GLOCO” Concepcion will handle the team’s lifestyle content. Een Mercado, the first female Valorant streaming superstar will serve as an ambassador and lead initiatives to support female streamers. Elyson “GHOST Wrecker” Caranza is expected to handle charity initiatives.
Kimberlee “superkimbie” Arcillas, Facebook sensation and TV celebrity, will spearhead the Mobile Legends division along with Ghost Wrecker. That leaves Shin Boo “sh1nboo” Ponferrada, an experienced tournament director and SEA eSports Insider, who will oversee and introduce the team’s content.
The plan behind Team Manny Pacquiao eSports
The composition and structure of the Manny Pacquiao esports team have been meticulously planned and set to emulate the rise of Manny Pacquiao himself. In the long run, the team is to be built up into a national team that will represent the Philippines throughout Asia. At the same time, the team is also meant to give young talent a chance to prove themselves.
To expand the team’s reach in the world of social media, Team Pacquiao will also have access to the former boxer’s respective channels. In this way, the team’s buildup will be accompanied by media coverage.
Team Pacquiao’s goal is not to hire a number of professionals as quickly as possible. Rather, a team is to emerge quasi organically within the framework of numerous events. At the same time, sales of promotional items are already being boosted.
The combination of sports star and eSports team is not entirely new: David Beckham also surprised everyone some time ago by sponsoring the Guild eSports team. What is new, however, is the concept of first putting together a group of influencers and only then starting to look for actual players.
The question is whether this is what the future of eSports will look like and whether this is a desirable development. The answer to this question may also depend on how successful the Team Pacquiao project turns out to be.