Esports organization T1 Entertainment & Sports has signed popular Twitch streamer Tyler “Tyler1” Steinkamp as a content creator. Steinkamp is best known as a streamer of League of Legends content, including hosting his own self-branded tournament, the Tyler1 Championship Series.
T1 Entertainment & Sports CEO Joe Marsh told The Esports Observer that the organization first became connected with Steinkamp when the streamer and T1 League of Legends star Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok both attended All Star events held at the end of the LoL competitive season. Then last year, Sang-hyeok and Steinkamp happened to be in Las Vegas at the same time, and so T1 organized an opportunity for the pair to create video content together.
At that time, the organization floated the idea of having Steinkamp join T1 to the creator and his management. “The jokes just write themselves with T1 T1,” explained Marsh. While he declined at the time, T1 and Tyler1 remained friendly, and have now officially joined forces.
The deal was negotiated by PROXY – a recently launched esports and gaming agency founded by industry veterans Marcel Feldkamp, Ferris Ganzman, and Justin Anderson.
Marsh said that while Steinkamp will have the T1 logo on his Twitch stream and will “be a Nike guy,” signing Steinkamp is about more than just having a popular streamer attached to the org.
“For us with someone like Tyler, we view this more as a content creation partnership versus just a strict streaming deal,” said Marsh. “We view him as a creator. He doesn’t need us for streaming…he’s one of the biggest names in the game. For us, it was about continuing to build our brand here in the West. We have our anchor team here in Valorant, but our League team’s out in Korea and we’re just building roots here in the United States as we’re historically Korean. So the idea of doing content with Tyler was really enticing. He’s a big personality and he’s a great guy to work with.”
Part of Marsh’s excitement for the signing also comes from Steinkamp’s position as someone who understands the League of Legends community. Having an experienced creator as a creative partner offers significant value as the organization plans out future content. “It’s massive. You look at someone like Tyler, who has more ideas in his head than a lot of people do, and now he has the resources of an org behind him to say ‘hey I want to do this crazy shoot of XYZ’, and we can say ‘alright cool, let’s go do it.’”
As content creation has become a more integral part of operating an esports organization, teams have had to find the balance between leveraging their players as content assets, and providing them the time necessary to prepare for competition. While some orgs have chosen to expand into less competition-focused games like Fortnite, Marsh feels that T1 must take a different approach.
“For us it’s always about winning. For us, one reason why we’ve started expanding our roster of creators…Faker only has so many hours in the day, and he needs to focus on winning first and foremost. So having the opportunity to leverage Tyler in a Nike opportunity versus continually bringing Faker or the other players out is a win for us, and for Tyler…and allows Faker to focus on his main job, which is winning another championship. So for us it was always about finding creators that made sense…and now we’re reaching out to people we think we can create great partnerships.
Tyler’s got a lot of creative ideas in his head, and we’re excited to unveil those and explore those throughout the next year.”