One of the most powerful American athlete-led investment bodies is making a big splash in gaming, procuring ownership in a consultancy firm that will significantly expand its rolodex in esports.
MLB Players Association and NFL Players Association co-founded firm OneTeam Partners is acquiring Theorycraft, the consultancy and brand agency led by esports lawyer Bryce Blum, Lauren Gaba Flanagan, and Nathen McVittie, the two organizations announced today.
The acquisition will give Theorycraft access to some of the most famous and successful athletes in the world since in addition to investment from the MLBPA and NFLPA, OneTeam is partnered with players associations of the MLS, WNBA, U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, and United States Rugby. Blum, Gaba Flanagan, and McVittie will remain on and continue working with both OneTeam, their own existing clients, and additional clientele.
“Ever since I’ve joined this company, it’s been fascinating how we don’t have the problem of not having enough opportunity that you often see in esports,” OneTeam head of gaming and creators Marty Strenczewilk told Dot Esports. “We have the opposite. We have so much opportunity that finding which ones to tackle that will be the right things to do is a big challenge.
“So having some other experts in to help look at all the various publishers, all the various partners that want to do gaming content, competitive content, and want to work with creators, it will allow us to tackle more opportunities and to flush through what are the right opportunities.”
This move came after OneTeam and Theorycraft partnered on several projects over the past year. Strenczewilk—who co-founded and ran esports team Splyce for more than five years—has enjoyed a long working relationship with Blum, whose legal clientele consists of some of the most valuable esports teams in the West. Blum contributed to Dot Esports as a freelance columnist in the past.
“A big part of our traction to bring them in is that they do bring an incredible amount of relationships in already and that expands for us,” Strenczewilk said. “Our primary reason is that we have an incredible pipeline and that’s what attracted them to us as well. You combine their relationships with our pipeline and it’s a really strong fit.”
Theorycraft first launched in September 2019 with Blum, Gaba Flanagan, and former Overwatch League and LCK commentator Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles serving as its partners. McVittie, who co-founded the company, served as the company’s creative director. MonteCristo departed Theorycraft due to potential conflicts of interest as he joined esports team Cloud9 on a full-time basis in January 2020.
Prior to founding the company, Gaba Flanagan oversaw esports and gaming at United Entertainment Group, a marketing firm owned by public relations firm Edelman. She’s also worked at CAA, one of the largest talent agencies in Hollywood, and is on the board of the LCS Players Association. McVittie’s résumé includes a long list of in-house and consultancy work for more than a handful of pro sports teams, including Arsenal, Leicester City FC, Liverpool FC, and LA Galaxy.
OneTeam Partners itself is a newer business, founded in November 2019 by the group responsible for OneTeam Collective, an NFLPA intellectual property rights licensing company, the MLBPA, and RedBird Capital Partners. RedBird’s investments also include the XFL Football League and Fenway Sports Group, owners of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC.