Perspectives

Simplicity Esports Looking to Set Down Roots in Florida

Simplicity Esports and Gaming Company announced an agreement to purchase four esport centers in Florida as the company looks to put down roots in the Sunshine State. 

The agreement is contingent on all four franchisee landlords’ approval but would follow a familiar blueprint for the North American-based esports organization. The company acquired PL Gaming Texas LLC in late June, another franchisee-owned esports gaming center.

Who is Simplicity Esports?

Simplicity Esports and Gaming Company is an intriguing player in the esports industry. Founded in 2017 by CEO Jed Kaplan, Simplicity Esports’ business model takes a community-based approach to grow the genre, operating franchisee gaming centers in local communities. Kaplan brings his experience in professional sports to the table as a minority owner of the National Basketball Association’s Memphis Grizzlies and the English Champions League’s football club Swansea City.

As a publicly traded company, Simplicity Esports and Gaming Company (OTCQB: WINR) is a unique beast within the esports space. That’s where the motivation behind this move lies, according to Simplicity Esports President Roman Franklin.

“We continue to execute on our strategy of growing revenue via acquisitions of existing, franchisee-owned gaming centers. The role of our wholly owned subsidiary, PLAYlive Nation Inc., as franchisor gives us direct insight into the financial performance, operations and existing customer base of these franchisee-owned gaming centers,” Franklin said in a press release. “Previously, Simplicity Esports has only reported the royalties collected from these franchisee-owned locations, which is a small fraction of the overall revenue.”

Now that Simplicity Esports will fully own these gaming centers, they’ll be able to report the full revenue of these locations. The increased revenue will make their stock more attractive to potential shareholders as the stock becomes more successful.

Why is Simplicity Esports Interested in Florida?

Florida is a hub for the esports industry. Misfits Gaming Group has set down roots in the area, intending to build their headquarters in Boca Raton. Professional esport organizations, including the Florida Mayhem of the Overwatch League and the Florida Mutineers of the Call of Duty League, call Florida home. The state also has numerous college campuses, one of the prime demographics for the industry. Even professional sports organizations in Florida have begun to team up with esports organizations within the state.

Esports gaming centers aren’t a new phenomenon in the state either. East Coast Gaming operates a popular gaming facility in Hollywood, Florida. A simple Google search for esport gaming centers in Florida returns dozens of articles about new centers opening across the state, like this one. Or this one. Or this one.

You get it. Esports is popular in Florida.

Why are Regional Gaming Centers Important for Esports?

Regional gaming centers are valuable assets for the esports community. Much in the same way traditional sports bring different groups of people together, esports pulls off the same feat. By competing so close to each other in person, rather than behind a screen states away, esport centers allow players to build camaraderie through a mutual passion.

Every new player who joins a gaming center meets new players and introduces their friends to the center. It serves as a de-facto referral system, consistently bringing new customers into the fold. Along the way, the local esport scene grows stronger as the center grows more profitable.

The esport gaming centers aren’t the only businesses benefitting from the arrangement. Every esports tournament provides local eatery businesses the chance to cater food to the 10, 15 or 30 people who will order food. Players who commute to the center from out of town get to experience all the amenities the city offers, leading to sales opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise existed.


Written by Chris Connors

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