LOS ANGELES: TSM, short for Team SoloMid, has hired TMZ cofounder Gillian Sheldon as a PR consultant to boost awareness of the esports juggernaut.
Sheldon, who owns Cat Pack Consulting, started working with TSM on March 1. She reports to TSM chief revenue officer Brad Sive. The budget wasn’t disclosed.
Sive said he met with 16 different PR shops before he hired Cat Pack Consulting. He didn’t meet with any of the big PR firms, because they were too cost-prohibitive.
Sheldon will help generate publicity around TSM’s digital programs and a facility it plans on opening later this year, said Sive.
Sheldon said she also wants to highlight some of its brand partnerships, including Geico, Chipotle, GrubHub, Dr. Pepper and Logitech.
"TSM has maintained a low profile on purpose, so now my expertise in the media can bring more mainstream media to TSM and TSM to mainstream media," Sheldon said. "TSM is so much more than just an esports team. They’re a digital platform and what excites me is it’s about content."
TSM started as a publishing platform, creating websites and blogs for popular computer game League of Legends, Sive explained.
Cofounders Andy Dinh and Dan Dinh used the proceeds from that work to create a team, he added. After that, TSM went into the influencer business.
"Most other teams were [started] as teams and tried to make money competing and selling sponsorships," Sive said. "We actually have a totally different path."
TSM has the second highest social following in esports, 11 different websites, and some of the top influencers in esports and gaming, Sive said. Using PR is one way to cut down on the tough learning curve brands and the public have faced when it comes to this burgeoning space, he added.
"[Many] don’t know that because it’s such a new industry, especially brands," Sive said. "It’s easier for us to get this out into the larger brand conversations through PR and comms channels, and I think that will make it easier to help people understand who we are."
Sive said he became aware of Sheldon’s esports work through her ongoing relationship with Super League Gaming, which went public in an IPO last month. TSM’s parent company, Swift, raised $37 million last summer.
As the second-most valuable esports company – Forbes gave it a $225 million valuation – TSM has attracted a litany of high-profile investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners and Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Andrew Iguodala. The winningest North American team in League of Legends, TSM has "always been profitable," Sive said.