The longest hardware partnership in esports history isn’t going anywhere–it’s only getting bigger and more ambitious. After ten years of close cooperation, Team Liquid–the third most valuable esports team in the world–is renewing its deal with Alienware, and the pair are celebrating by launching Liquid+: one of the biggest and most ambitious community initiatives yet seen in esports.

Designed as a “virtual stadium” for the organization’s ever-growing worldwide fanbase, Liquid+ is the first of many new initiatives being rolled out in conjunction with Alienware–and Team Liquid co-CEO Steve “LiQuiD112” Arhancet was on hand to explain what his team’s treasured partnership will bring both players and fans in 2021 and beyond.

Arhancet, who shares his duties alongside Team Liquid founder Victor “Nazgul” Goossens, has watched Team Liquid become the most successful squad in terms of prize money earned. Given this prosperity has been consistently supported by Alienware’s technology and expertise, Arhancet sees the renewed deal as a natural next step for the business.

“This kind of relationship isn’t typical between people, let alone between companies,” he says.  “We’ve developed very similar perspectives and ways of working, but the one thing that’s bound us together for this long is that we have one shared goal: the pursuit of excellence.”

He adds: “Team Liquid has an unwavering commitment to winning, and not just in championships. We want to do the best, and be the best, at everything we do. Alienware shares that goal.”

To realize these sky-high aims for years to come, Alienware and Team Liquid have intensively developed training environments for players on both sides of the Atlantic, beginning with the creation of the first Alienware Training Facility in Santa Monica, which opened in 2018. 

This was followed last September by a second coaching base in the Dutch city of Utrecht, providing a dedicated European HQ in the company’s home city, and also making Team Liquid the world’s first esports organization with two such facilities on different continents. Between them, these centers offer around 1,000 Alienware products, from gaming PCs and monitors to headsets and peripherals.

Yet while Team Liquid aims to “remain at the forefront of the industry” with cutting-edge hardware, tools and training systems, Arhancet says the partnership’s priority in 2021 is to use Liquid+ to engage with the fans who’ve supported the organization, and give them an immersive esports experience like no other.

“We want to become the world’s most fan-focused and globally competitive esports organization, not just today, but for generations to come,” he says. “Those are two of our staff’s and players’ biggest motivators, and for 20 years now, that’s never failed us.”

Tomorrow (January 27) at 1:00PM ET, Team Liquid and Alienware’s Liquid+ will be launched as the official online home for its fans. The event will be marked by a livestream on its Twitch account, which will also see Team Liquid’s mascot Blue being fired into space.

“We see Liquid+ as the next evolution in fan engagement,” Arhancet says. “It brings us closer to our fans than any other platform could, and creates more meaningful ways that we can engage with each other.”

Comparing it to any traditional sports team’s hometown stadium, Arhancet says that Liquid+’s primary goal is to unite followers from around the world in one iconic place. “Because Liquid+ is digital, it’s accessible to all Liquid fans no matter where they are, and we’re able to reward fans with experiences that we couldn’t otherwise.”

Liquid+ will effectively “gamify fandom.” Fans will be able to connect via social platforms, earning points for watching streams, interacting through social media, buying Team Liquid apparel, entering competitions, and completing quests or experiences. Followers can even compete in a ranking system that lets them unlock perks. 

Arhancet continues: “If you’re a Dodgers baseball fan, the closest you’ll come to Clayton Kershaw is watching him on the mound at the stadium. But between now and March, fans of Tactical, ScreaM, or mitr0 can get personalized messages from their favorite pro, get a Zoom lesson, or do an exclusive AMA through Liquid+.”

To add to its roster of professionals in the coming years, Team Liquid and Alienware have announced their intentions to pool together existing community partnerships and resources and deploy a mixture of mentorship programs, scholarships, student outreach and education, tournaments and other events focused on underrepresented people.

Arhancet continues: “Our overarching goal is to bring more women and diverse voices into esports and inspire the next generation of leaders to reimagine their futures, and their careers, in gaming.” This will be further supported by Team Liquid’s “content powerhouse,” led by 1UP Studios, to highlight diversity in esports and take the lead on “knowledge sharing with the community.” 

While the co-CEO is proud of the squad’s ongoing success in competitive scenarios, Arhancet added that Team Liquid is increasingly focusing on broadening its streams of income to maintain its position as a top-ten esports earner. “Our efforts in apparel, technology, and video production have all been revved up,” he explains. “We’re working with partners to deliver incredible products that fans love, in both esports and related communities.”

Does he have a desire to become the world’s most valuable esports company? “We certainly wouldn’t turn that down” he says, “but our priority is on remaining a fan-focused and competitive esports team. This year is already looking to be full of surprises for us–and we can’t wait for those to unfold.”

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