Galaxy Racer get gamers’ pulses ‘racing’



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Walid Singer on Coliseum MENA Image: Walid Singer & Galaxy Racer

Walid Singer, the Chief of Staff at Galaxy Racer, is a connoisseur on the topic of esports. He literally has all the information at his fingertips.

Galaxy Racer was founded in 2019 by Paul Roy and is the largest esports, gaming and lifestyle organization in the world, based in the United Arab Emirates.

Singer was part of the pioneering team at Galaxy Racer who spearheaded the organization’s marketing initiatives which achieved massive hyper growth. He led the entire team for Pakistan’s largest esports tournament from strategic planning to execution on ground at the event venue. He conceptualized, managed and created the first ever cross-regional Fortnite event featuring the Premier League club Arsenal F.C. star footballer, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

A versatile personality, Singer is part of the leadership team of Talent Lyfe, an innovative talent management agency for elite athletes led by former Manchester United F.C. (UK) legend, Mikaël Silvestre, which Galaxy Racer invested in.
 

Galaxy Racer

Galaxy Racer is the largest esports, gaming and lifestyle organization globally. It is headquartered in Dubai with market presence in MENA, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Europe, with over 100 content creators, over 500 million followers and over 2.5 billion monthly views.
 

Galaxy Racer snapshot

  • Established in 2019;
  • Esports, gaming and lifestyle organization;
  • Global presence in MENA, SEA, South Asia, and Europe;
  • 100+ creators, 500M+ followers, 2.5B+ monthly views;
  • Two Guinness World Records and raised US $12 million+ for charity by its creator AboFlah with its partners MBRGI and UNHCR; and
  • Executed online and offline esports events.

 

Galaxy Racer (GXR) five key pillars:

  • Content Creators;
  • Esports Teams;
  • Tournament Management;
  • GXR Limited (Merchandising and Lifestyle); and
  • GXR Records (a newly established record label).

 

Galaxy Racer offerings to content creators:

  • Brand endorsement deals;
  • Streaming contracts;
  • Creator collaborations;
  • Digital rights management;
  • Monetization;
  • Online and offline event opportunities; and
  • Social media management and content programing.

 

COVID edge

When COVID-19 spelt doom and froze the whole world in March 2020, esports slowly gained a foothold and made its way into the hearts of millions of gaming enthusiasts. While the world of traditional sports shuttered down and games were either a closed door affair or the event calendar was chock-a-block with cancellations, the last sports left standing was esports.

While the whole world got cooped up due to the pandemic, esports slowly crept into the hearts of people and started grabbing eyeballs. The flexible nature of the game and its play-from-home-format struck a chord with gaming buffs and today esports events viewership is booming and it is in a position to give ‘run-for-your-money’ to traditional sports like cricket, soccer, basketball, etc.

The full of pep Walid Singer, Chief of Staff, Galaxy Racer, Dubai, UAE, gives extensive details exclusively to ‘Coliseum’ on how the esports organization successfully pulled off the largest esports tournament in Pakistan recently despite several handicaps one of them being zero infrastructure in the country and how Galaxy Racer was still able to make the event a roaring success. He also details the ABC of the gaming world.

Walid Singer shot off by providing details of his organization Galaxy Racer – “Galaxy Racer was established in 2019 as an esports organization. It very quickly pivoted to esports gaming and lifestyle and in a very short span of time Galaxy Racer has managed to become the largest esports content and gaming organization in the world.”
 
He attributed the secret sauce of Galaxy Racer to two matrixes:

  • Galaxy Racer boasts a total network of creators that amounts to five hundred and forty million followers between MENA and South East Asia – “So, we literally have 125 creators exclusively with Galaxy Racer and boast 500 million subscribers and followers across platforms.”
  • The second main matrix our competitive team has gathered over 30 million dollars in competitive earnings by just playing incredible games and playing them as the best possible out there – “Since we have established, we have took on this creator economy approach gaming esports. We have a full ecosystem when it comes to creators, when it comes to team management and bringing those two together we have created an infrastructure for events starting off with online events during COVID and moving on now to local area network (LAN) physical events.”

 

Pakistan – a success story

Galaxy Racer launched Pakistan’s biggest esports festival – ‘Gamers Galaxy’ – which was held at the Pakistan-China Friendship Centre in Islamabad from January 8th to January 9th, 2022.

Informed Singer, “Our event in Pakistan was our first LAN event covering everything from esports to music to create our economy. It was also the first ever event that we did offline. We decided to create one of the largest esports events in Pakistan.”
 

Why Pakistan?

  • Pakistan boasts one of the youngest population in the planet;
  • Galaxy Racer saw an incredible potential in going to a market that had zero infrastructure when it comes to esports and gaming “And we tackled that because we knew the eyeball potential that we can generate from that”.

 

Plum prize pool

He added, “We went in with the highest ever priceful announce for that region – over 100,000 dollars given away.”
 

Gaming event

He added, “We ran a PUBG mobile tournament – the first-ever female gaming event we have held in Pakistan. We have had Valorant, FIFA – all of that housed under one main event.”
 

The challenges

Galaxy Racer took up the gauntlet of organizing the biggest ever esports event in Pakistan though they were well aware of the various challenges which were in store for them:

  • Zero infrastructure;
  • Vendors were totally at sea about the entire gaming ecosystem;
  • Fabricators were equally ignorant;
  • esports as an industry was not fully grasped by the local resources in Pakistan – “We spearheaded this entire event remotely for the first 30 days and were on the ground only one week leading up to that event.”; and
  • Communicating with the agencies, with the vendors, with the fabricators, and finally with the brands about something that was innovative, about something that was about to change the landscape of gaming in Pakistan was a “huge challenge” for Galaxy Racer.

 

Getting down to brass tacks

Stated Singer, “We right away assigned resources on the ground, we sent across two of our talent from the region to Pakistan so that they can create this relationship with the stakeholders. At every single part of our experience with every single vendor we have discovered that we were not coming in as a client or as a partner, we were also educating them on what to expect, how to do it, what to do and when to do it.”

The interesting part about esports events he said was that unlike concerts, unlike comedy shows, esports events are very similar to actual sports events – “You have a massive operation on one side on a broadcasting level, we have a full broadcasting team in every single offline event, we have a full operational team that is handling the tournament management – this is everything from players getting into a game, getting into a room, coordinating, having moderators check their screens, moderating the screen itself, and then you have the actual operation of the event – from music, panels, creator economy discussions, entertainment avenues. So, looking at it, we are looking at a completely 60 type of event deliverables targeted towards the demographic that was anywhere between the age of 12 to 24.”
 

Tasting success

Exulted Singer, “The event was an incredible success. We had 16,000 people coming in across two days in Islamabad at the Pakistan-China Friendship Centre. We had over 15,000 players sign up to play. From those we filtered down to 500 across the four game titles. As we did that, we hosted our event in an auditorium in the Pak-China Centre. That auditorium was built maybe 10 years ago. It was modern but it did not cater to innovative style events.”
 

LAN glitch

The entire esports ecosystem depends heavily on LAN infrastructure and Wi-Fi reception. Everything has to be seamless and the mobile gaming cannot be interrupted by a cable that is connected to the LAN cable – “One single delay, one single issue, one single problem with our LAN network, with our Wi-Fi reception, that game is lost and that team is going to stand up on stage and say ‘I am not going to play’.”

This is what exactly happened in the Pakistan event – “We had 16 routers set across 16 tables to cater to 64 players. However, the soundproofing that was done in the auditorium created a huge bandwidth issue where you had people coming into the event with their existing Wi-Fi signal. They were coming in with these small routers that they were connecting to, they were coming in trying to connect to our Wi-Fi devices, you had the players all connected to the 16 LAN events and literally after the first game the tournament was unplayable on mobile.”
 

esports flexibility

He explained that the flexibility that esports gives is the ability to be able to pull that out completely and put it somewhere else – “If I had a concert, music is not working, my sound is not working, it’s manageable. We had to pull out 64 players midnight to a different stage where we had wider reception outside of that particular auditorium which is hi-tech, modern so that we were able to make sure that they are getting the signal that they need to be able to play that event.”
 

Players key

The stakeholders in the esports events are not just the audience. It’s the audience but most importantly it’s the player. All of the above alternative arrangement was done so that the players could compete, train and win – “That’s how an ecosystem is born and that’s what we were intending to do and what we are intending to do in Pakistan – to create an ecosystem, a standard and a benchmark on everything we did that can be taken and replicated and done elsewhere. So, our relationship was really not to disappoint our players as much as we had that relationship with the audience, it’s the players that we need to make sure they are getting a seamless experience. And this is where most of our communication happened to make sure that the player is at ease. When the player is at ease, he is playing, he is competing, he is producing results, and he is creating this community engagement that we need during an event.”
 

Lessons Learned

  • The LAN glitch incident at the Pakistan event made Galaxy Racers think on the line of always creating a separate stage “And this is a standard we learnt from this event. Always have a backup stage that is completely shut down, that is completely covered up and that has everything available for plug and play but is completely off. Because unlike presentations, concerts and other type of events, if I have a disconnection the entire integrity of the competition is gone. So, the ability to move a competition from one stage to another that is fully ready to plug and play was a standard we put in.”
  • The LAN glitch episode in the Pakistan event also taught Galaxy Racers that even the most avant-garde setup might not be able to cater to esports events;
  • With the pandemic outbreak, the esports industry has seen a boom in the past 18 months and especially during COVID gaming exceeded music and movies on an industry level in terms of revenue generated. Against such a backdrop, “Dedicated arenas should come up all over the globe that can cater to global esports events”;
  • Venue operators should be aware of the operational risks involved in creating esports events; and
  • The majority of viewership in a gaming event is online. So, it’s really that hybrid between broadcast and in-person event. Having those production event capabilities for millions and millions of eyeballs is crucial.

 
He was of the view that one should commit more to events in the esports space, commit more tournaments and competitions.
 

Future plans

Galaxy Racer is planning to host one of the most major Dota 2 tournaments, bringing in 10 teams who have over 13 million followers globally to the UAE, to Dubai, compete for a million dirhams – “It is not just about hosting the event. It is not about getting them to play, we want to send a message loud and clear that the UAE is a safe place to come in for your LAN events because the entire gaming world still has too many COVID protocols in place which is not the case in UAE.”

Singer asserted that Galaxy Racer wants to make UAE a hub for esports events – “We are not looking to fill up seats, we are just looking for a state-of-the-art experience that they can translate on broadcast with millions and millions of views and that is the main objective behind our plan to hold an event.”

However, he was quick to add that sophisticated small arenas still do not exist in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.
 

Content key

  • Esports is content. It is content for these arenas.
  • Esports is a way to get hundred million global eyeballs in one single tournament or a piece of content – “The entire esports ecosystem is fueled by content. On a money level, on an industry level, esports is a dot in the gaming universe which is huge and the way esports is monetized and funded today is not through competitions, it’s not through prize pool – we don’t make money from prize pools. We get a commission which does not run the business, we make money through content generated from esports.”;
  • The creators and the content are fueling the esports ecosystem;
  • The actual gameplay is one part of the content than playing and competing and getting that recorded which is one piece of the content;
  • The actual tournament itself and the activities and the content around it are again content; and
  • The actual promotion of a tournament is the actual content. Having creators come into a stadium and engage with an esports tournament is a content piece and every single avenue from that event is documented, broadcasted, promoted as a content piece and that is “How we monetize from these events. Our event in Pakistan was completely free. You can walk in free. But we have generated since then 10 million views on every single video that we have uploaded around this event. And every single activity from the creators being on stage panel to the creators engaging with fans, to the players playing, all of this is content material we shape and change into documentary – short clips, Tik Tok videos, Instagram videos, YouTube content – that’s the content for us and brings in the moolah.”

 

Monetization comes through:

  • Monetization of the eyeballs;
  • Positioning within the event;
  • The direction in which you host the event;
  • The branding that you include on the players -“The players have millions and millions of die- hard followers and fans and when they come in to your event wearing your jersey with your title sponsor using your mouse and keyboard with your screen brought with a camera pointed at you broadcasted at a Twitch and YouTube channel with hundreds of thousands of people watching online and offline, this is the monetization.”

 

Miles to go…

Singer summed up by stating, “Galaxy Racer was born in the heart of COVID. We grew from 1,000 followers’ base to over 540 million in the past nine months. Even though Pakistan was our flagship esports event, but what we have discovered is we are going to take seven years and hundreds of those Pakistan-like events to reach where China, Malaysia or Europe has reached in esports or even the US a bit.”

It is laudable that born just in 2019, Galaxy Racer has climbed up the ladder of success in a short span of time. And going by the effervescence of committed and very versatile top guns like Walid Singer, one can be pretty sure that the sky is the limit for organizations like Galaxy Racers. Way to go!

The esports market was valued at USD 694.2 million in 2017 and is expected to reach USD 2,174.8 million by 2023. The esports market is expected to grow because of various driving factors, such as increasing popularity of video games and growing awareness about esports. Against such a scenario, one can rightfully assert that there is no stopping the Galaxy Racer from ‘racing’ ahead.

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