Image via: @UGeistEsports
This may not be Ronnie Screwvala’s first foray into Indian esports, but it certainly is an exciting venture with a bright future ahead.. U Sports, which claims to be a futuristic sports business company is the brainchild of self-made entrepreneur, Ronnie Screwvala and Supratik Sen. The company already has teams in Kabbadi and Volleyball, two disciplines which lie outside the realm of what is considered big sports in India.
U Sports has also been involved with esports in the past, when they produced and ran a competitive gaming television series called U Cypher, which aired in 2018. While the show received mixed reactions from the hardcore esports community, it did show that the company was willing to invest considerable amounts of time and money into the scene.
Recently we have also been seeing a CS:GO team by the name of U Geist, whose logo and branding resembles U Sports, competing in Indian tournaments. In an official press release, U Sports has revealed that U Geist is indeed their latest project which plans to pick up competitive teams, starting with CS:GO, Dota2, PUBG, FIFA, League of Legends and Fortnite.
They have already kicked off their journey in the ESL India Premiership with their CS:GO, division, which is being headed by Amar ‘rey’ Ratnam, a player who was part of one of India’s most successful Counter-Strike lineups, ATE Gaming, back in the day. Amar was also part of the team that made season 1 of U Cypher reality. While it seemed that his competitive days were behind him, as most retirements go in the world of esports, Amar is back as the captain and coach of U Geist. Joining him will be 2 former ATE members, Akshay ‘kappa’ Sinkar and Ritesh ‘ritz’ Shah. The lineup also includes Anish ‘Bogeymanh’ Singh and Varun Menon.
The organization also has plans to complete their rosters for other titles in the near future.
Talking about U Geist, Ronnie Screwvala, says, “Esports is the most exciting new age phenomenon that enthrals and entertains the present-day youth and masses alike. Esports has tremendous potential to make it big in India. We were the one of the first to identify the potential in this space in India and put in place U Cypher Season 1 which was broadcast on TV in 2018. This gave us an in-depth understanding that India does have good talent that once nurtured can make it big as a team in global eSports. While in some parts of the world it has already evolved and become highly competitive for a while now, we thought it was about time Indian players begin to make their mark too! U Geist has some of the best players in the country and the endeavour for them is to carve out their space nationally and internationally.”
Among other things, Managing Director and Co-founder of U Sports, Supratik Sen also had this to say - “I must add that Season 2 of U Cypher is in the pipeline and will also involve the making of a competitive Esports platform for competitions and online video games (individual or multiplayer) to facilitate the identification of best Esports talent in India”.
Unfortunately, U Geist's results haven’t really been the best as they are currently 1-2 in the Summer Season of the ESL India Premiership. This also includes a 0-16 drubbing at the hands of Signify and another loss against Global Esports. However, it is certainly early days for the team, who have a long season ahead of them.
Writer’s note: The entry of U Geist as a team in the Indian esports landscape is certainly exciting in more ways than one. For starters, Ronnie Screwvala’s name adds a lot of weight and legitimacy to the scene, paving the way for future investors and stakeholders. With the resources, manpower and financial backing that U Sports has, U Geist can easily be one of the top 3 orgs in India. However, the role of management will be key in identifying talented players and putting them together in a team under U Geist. With established names like Signify, Global Esports and Entity Gaming already having made their mark in the scene, it will be a longer and much harder road for U Geist, but one that can reap them a lot of benefits should they persevere.