Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman isn’t waiting until retirement to start a new venture off the ice. The 26-year-old is starting his own esports company that will be called E11 or Eleven Gaming, named after his jersey number.
Hyman will hire a roster of gamers who will represent the company at tournaments and online. Beginning with the game Fortnite, the goal for the gamers will be to win prize money and earn sponsorships for the new company.
Hyman wants to capitalize on the lucrative market found on Twitch.
“People watch other people play on Twitch. We can capitalize on that stuff and help our players build their brands and facilitate growth. In turn, it helps grow our brand as well.”
What made Hyman decide to start his own business rather than invest in one of the existing companies? Simply, he didn’t find one that was the right fit.
“[Esports] is a growing and developing industry. I met with a couple of different esports companies to gauge interest in investing in something I like and thought was going to grow I didn’t really find one that suited me, so I decided to go out and start my own thing.”
On the ice, Hyman has started the 2018-19 season with five assists through his first eight games.
Fortnite is a huge topic in the sporting world, and was one the Maple Leafs got really into last season.
Meanwhile, other teams have viewed the game as a distraction, with the Vancouver Canucks banning their players from Fortnite. As long as Hyman keeps producing, no one is going to care how many games he plays or what company he’s creating.
The website for E11 is expected to launch later this month.