New York City's vibrant esports scene convinced this multimillion dollar team to launch a new organization dedicated to its local gaming culture

NYXL Homecoming July 2018Andbox/New York Excelsior

In New York City, esports is about much more than just online competition. New York has an engaged and social community of gamers who are ready to show up, celebrate, and support each other in a variety of games.

The vibrant spirit of New York City's gaming scene led to the creation of AndBox, a new esports organization dedicated to the city's gaming culture. Founded by Sterling.VC - the same group that operates the New York Mets and Sportsnet New York - AndBox will operate two multi-million dollar esports franchises while organizing a range of events for gamers in New York City.

Sterling.VC has already invested in the city's gaming community with the New York Excelsior (NYXL), its Overwatch League (OWL) franchise. Though the Overwatch League currently hosts the vast majority of its matches from a studio in Burbank, California, NYXL worked with local fan groups in New York to host watch parties, competitions, and meet-and-greet events with the team.

These events helped galvanize the city's social gaming scene - fans of other games appreciated the social experience of NYXL's events and were willing to embrace "Overwatch" as well.

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Andbox is raising the bar for what gamers expect from social events.

Andbox is raising the bar for what gamers expect from social events.

Gamers in New York have been organizing their own events for years, long before esports became a multimillion dollar industry. But NYXL's willingness to partner with grassroots organizers and invest in premium events helped create a welcoming atmosphere and inspired new possibilities for the city's gaming community.

The founders of Andbox felt that their esports teams should have a connection with the local community.

The founders of Andbox felt that their esports teams should have a connection with the local community.

"In New York, we have a unique opportunity to grow and unite the gaming community both on a local and global stage, and we're confident that Andbox will continue to raise the bar by celebrating gamers on a scale rarely seen in this industry," Andbox co-founder Rohit Gupta said.

Andbox learned new ways to engage with fans through NYXL's events.

Andbox learned new ways to engage with fans through NYXL's events.

New York's social esports crowd isn't totally unique.

Much like you'd find with traditional sports teams, esports organizations have found that not every fan wants to be a competitor themselves. People express their love for gaming and esports in different ways.

For some, that might include cosplaying their favorite character or hosting casual play sessions for fellow fans to improve at the game. Others simply show their support by wearing a team jersey, or sporting the team's color scheme in-game.

"We've received a tremendous amount of support from our fans, but we recognize that New Yorkers - and gamers everywhere – are still hungry for a deeper, more meaningful connection to esports," Andbox co-founder Scott Wilpon said in a statement. "We're incredibly excited to launch Andbox to help people find exciting new ways to self-identify and express themselves as gamers."

Following the success of NYXL, Sterling.VC invested millions to bring a new Call of Duty franchise to New York. Andbox will operate both teams.

Following the success of NYXL, Sterling.VC invested millions to bring a new Call of Duty franchise to New York. Andbox will operate both teams.

In addition to operating NYXL and hosting local events, Andbox will be working to launch a new Call of Duty franchise in New York City. Activision will operate a "Call of Duty" league alongside the Overwatch League, though it's unclear when the new league will start. Sterling.VC is one of five confirmed team owners, each of whom paid a reported $25 million for a franchise spot. The other teams are based in Atlanta, Dallas, Paris, and Toronto.

NYXL has packed multiple New York City venues for gaming events, and soon Andbox will have an official venue for the team's home matches.

NYXL has packed multiple New York City venues for gaming events, and soon Andbox will have an official venue for the team's home matches.

The Overwatch League plans to let teams start hosting matches in their own cities in 2020, providing even more opportunities for Andbox to connect fans with their teams. While New York City doesn't have the real estate for the sort of multimillion dollar facility that other esports teams are funding, Andbox is working to finalize a deal for their official home venue.

Andbox will create exclusive apparel and designs for gamers in New York City, expanding on the success of NYXL's pop-up shops.

Andbox will create exclusive apparel and designs for gamers in New York City, expanding on the success of NYXL's pop-up shops.

Creating new and unique apparel will also be a central part of Andbox's upcoming initiatives, building off the excitement generated from previous NYXL collaborations with popular brands like UNDEFEATED, Champion, New Era, and more. Andbox has brought on Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, the New York-based co-founders of the award winning fashion label Public School, to serve as creative directors for the design of new apparel and products. Andbox will be announcing its first wave of signature apparel later this summer.

Andbox is built to represent esports in New York City, and seems to plan to make the most of what the city has to offer.

Andbox is built to represent esports in New York City, and seems to plan to make the most of what the city has to offer.

Andbox is led by co-founders Rohit Gupta, Farzam Kamel and Scott Wilpon. For more information on Andbox, visit andbox.com or follow Andbox on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

You can find out more about New York Excelsior on their Overwatch League homepage and via Twitter.

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