Virgin Media powers the WYLDE Academy, Ireland’s first performance centre for esports athletes
5th October 2022: Virgin Media has today announced that it is joining forces with global esports organisation, WYLDE, to develop and nurture Ireland’s rapidly growing esports industry. This new partnership positions Virgin Media at the forefront of gaming in Ireland, working with Usain Bolt’s WYLDE esports organisation, to grow Ireland’s roster of world-class esports athletes.
The popularity of esports is rapidly expanding, with 53% of Irish adults gaming regularly, and rising to 75% of adults aged 18 to 34 years, according to research commissioned by Virgin Media. The research goes on to show that strategy and sports titles are the most popular esports amongst Irish gamers with 22% watching live esports tournaments online.
The Virgin Media announcement coincides with the opening by WYLDE of Ireland’s first state-of-the-art esports Academy powered by Virgin Media in Cork. The Academy will host a wide range of national and international events in the coming months including FIFA training sessions and a Rainbow Six Siege Bootcamp. Based in Republic of Work in Cork, the new academy will support the on-going development in player performance and best practice coaching in Ireland.
WYLDE players compete in some of the most popular esports titles in the world including Rainbow Six: Siege, Valorant, Rocket League and FIFA. The group is rapidly making its mark on both the domestic and international competitive stage.
In 2021, WYLDE FIFA players reached the inaugural FAI eLeague of Ireland championship final, and WYLDE player Tyrone Ryan went on to represent Ireland at the FIFA eNations Series in 2021.
On the international stage, the WYLDE Rainbow Six Siege team won the EU Gamers Without Borders Championship (June 2022) securing a $250,000 donation to UNICEF, and went on to the global semi-final of the $2 million Gamers 8 tournament, beating Team Liquid and former World Champions Space Station Gaming along the way. WYLDE continues to dominate international titles, with WYLDE’s R6 Team winning the Ubisoft GSA Grand Final Trophy in Germany.
Paul Higgins, Vice President of Commercial, Virgin Media welcomed the announcement saying: “We are thrilled to announce this new partnership with WYLDE, Ireland’s leading esports organisation. Without superfast and reliable broadband, gamers cannot perform at their best. We know so many of our customers love gaming. Research carried out by Virgin Media shows the remarkable growth of gaming and esports in Ireland.
“Our most recent research goes on to show just how prolific gaming is amongst the Irish public with a growing number of gamers looking to play online, highlighting the importance of a fast and reliable internet connection.
“The WYLDE esports Academy powered by Virgin Media’s superfast 1Gb speeds is the first of its kind in Ireland and is an exciting opportunity to help nurture and support gaming talent in Ireland.”
The world’s fastest man, and co-owner of WYLDE, Usain Bolt, said: “I am so excited to be part of the fastest growing sport in the world, esports, through WYLDE. The WYLDE x Virgin Media partnership is a great fit, as our players and gamers all over Ireland will benefit from superfast, reliable broadband, providing a competitive edge and supporting their development as players.”
Speaking at the announcement, WYLDE CEO Steve Daly said: “To be world champions, our players need world class infrastructure in Ireland. With Virgin Media as our broadband partners, WYLDE players, casters, content creators, gamers and our supporters will have a real competitive edge. We are delighted to be working with Virgin Media to enable Ireland’s gaming community and esports athletes to fulfil their potential.”
To coincide with this major announcement, Virgin Media will also be launching a brand-new nationwide campaign, where two of Ireland’s top FIFA champions will be showcased as elite athletes who, like other athletes, rely on their kit to perform at the highest level. As part of the campaign, Tyrone Ryan and Ciarán Walsh from Team WYLDE, will show how they leverage the speed and reliability of Virgin Media broadband to bring their A-game.
Launching on October 10th with AV, social, OOH, digital and national radio, the campaign will replicate a high energy sports campaign with Brian Cox adding his gravitas as the Virgin Media voiceover. The new campaign will run until mid-November right across the country.
The research findings featured in this announcement were part of research commissioned by Virgin Media Ireland and carried out by Coyne Research amongst a group of 1,000 adults aged 18+ years from across the Republic of Ireland between the 15th-27th September 2022.
Created at the convergence of gaming, entertainment and competitive performance, WYLDE is a premier esports organisation with global ambition. Co-owned by the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, and co-founders Steve Daly and David Cronin, WYLDE is headquartered in Ireland. Founded during a global pandemic, WYLDE is committed to celebrating and bringing together young people from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives through gaming media and esports titles. WYLDE connects this generation through unique gaming content, fun, competitive spirit and performance culture.
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