BRAND Jamaica is set to reap rich benefits from its association with the electronic gaming platform D3eSports and through the creation of a Jamaican team in global e-sports racing competition, the D3eSports Cup Championship.
Team Jamaica was developed out of a partnership with Jacqui’s Gourmet and is managed by renowned culinary expert and author Jacqui Francis and StemGen, a Houston-based virtual-to-real gaming platform focused on motorsports and education.
The D3eSports championship format will run on the Forza Motorsport 7 platform and likely feature three 20-minute races with 16 qualified drivers in eight corporate teams, competing in a Swiss format.
Simon Dawson, StemGen’s CEO, believes that in addition to adding visibility for the island through millions of viewers across the globe over the duration of the digital circuit, Team Jamaica’s inclusion will add significant value to the competition. He is also hoping in the end to establish an internationally appealing Jamaican e-sports league.
Dawson also pointed to worldwide marketing opportunities for brands that get involved with the Jamaican team.
“It’s mind-blowing the numbers that we are talking about, and I think when you get a cultural following behind something, it’s super powerful. I can totally see the whole country just getting behind this team, and the rest of the world getting behind it too. I mean, it’s such an attractive country and culture that I just think people are going to learn so much about all the different things they wouldn’t probably know about Jamaica at the same time. But also, from a Jamaican perspective they’re going to be seen for their talents around the world as well, so I think there’s going to be a tremendous crossover,” said Dawson during an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer.
“I think that the culture of this from a tourism aspect is just going to be phenomenal. And I think that when we look at what that those two cars tell when we’re doing a global broadcast — and there are links to hotels and places to eat and you know, the music and all the vibrant things that happen in the country — I can just see this really upping the exposure; I mean, you have half a billion gamers alone,” said Dawson who is already eyeing Jamaica as a destination for the final.
“There are two drivers that are representing the brand, representing the team, but at the same time we’re going to have a lot of things going on where the other thousands upon thousands of gamers will be trying to qualify or want to interact,” Dawson added.
Gamers will look to secure the opportunity to represent Jamaica, with two drivers ultimately being selected to carry the flag and take on virtual racers from all over the world.
A full sim racing rig — one of the first of its kind in the Caribbean — will be set up at S Hotel in Montego Bay, providing a base for Team Jamaica’s drivers and other interested gamers, with other properties expected to benefit in the near future.
“With our background in real racing in the last three or four years, we’ve really started expanding into the virtual space a little bit more, hence, where we created our own e-sports racing league. We’ve been doing multiple different tournament series, like five-week tournaments series, for different companies for the last two or three years — and this year will be the first year that we will do an annual championship with global e-sports teams,” said Dawson.
“Each team has two cars and two drivers and there will be 72 races around the world. They’ll be driving from their simulators, wherever they are in the world, and there’ll be multiple watch parties that will be streamed throughout the world on Twitch as well.
“So at the moment what we’re doing is, each of the teams is purchasing simulators and we’ll be delivering the first racing simulator to Jamaica, which is super exciting,” he added. “Because it’s the only one, it’s also going to be the only car that’s really dedicated around a country, culture, cuisine, and tourism, so I think this will be pretty powerful. And, you know, we hope to get many more simulators in Jamaica as well but at least one more, because we ideally see the drivers that win to represent the team being in Jamaica, competing on those sims, and so that’s a goal.”
Francis, who was the chef for former Prime Minister PJ Patterson, is looking forward to the experience and expects Team Jamaica to add spice to the competition.
“Working on Team Jamaica with Simon and his team at D3eSports has been fantastic,” said Francis. “We can’t wait to get started to showcase Jacqui’s Gourmet and many other Jamaica-based partners as we develop this marketing opportunity. I get more excited every day and so does everyone associated with our brands.”
On the back of the US$180-billion gaming industry, e-sports has continued its tremendous growth in viewership, participation, and revenue — with top professional gamers earning millions on a yearly basis.