It’s not a year since Dario “TLO” Wunsch ended his career as an active e-athlete. After ten years at Team Liquid, the German, better known as a StarCraft player, found a new job with e-commerce provider Shopify.
There he is now building an entirely new e-sports team. In an interview with the German press agency, he explains what his new assignments are in “retirement” and why Shopify Rebellion begins its way into the Starcraft 2 and Rocket League themes of all things.
Q: What exactly are you doing in your new job?
Answer: It’s not that easy to describe because we’re still building an e-sports program and I still wear a lot of hats. In theory, we ended up with the title “head of player development,” which you can imagine a head coach is like. At the core of my work, I take care of the performance of the players, that they have the necessary equipment; But we also talk about strategy in and out of the game, for example. In general, however, I am our general manager Jeremy Steves’ right hand and was involved in a large number of decisions.
Life after an e-sports career
Q: Was this a natural progression for you after your active sports career?
Answer: I started esports when I was twelve years old. Of course, it’s especially helpful when working with players because I know exactly what’s going on in the players’ minds. Over the years I have not only been a player, I have also been a manager and coach at Team Liquid and know not only the player’s point of view. It was always clear to me that I wanted to be in esports after my professional career, and that’s an absolute dream for me.
Q: Shopify now has a kind of Works team. Does it have any advantages over sponsoring an independent esports team or an organization?
Answer: This has many advantages, including allowing us to design the team as we wish. There are no other interests and we are not the people standing with ten other people. We can also think longer term because we know: we are committed, we are building it and we can plan out our various moves for a year. And we have advantages in terms of cost as we do everything in house.
Team marketing is part of the budget
Q: What is the main goal of the esports department? Should the team bring in money?
Answer: Keeping the Shopify brand in esports is definitely the main goal. Making money as a team in esports is not that easy. The team is part of our marketing budget, that’s very clear.
Q: How did the decision to invest in the comparatively smaller e-sports ecosystems StarCraft 2 and Rocket League come about?
Answer: One of the reasons I’m here is to identify: Where can we have the most impact as a team? Acting as the first step on the biggest scenes isn’t always the most effective. A lot of mistakes can happen because these are also areas in which a lot of money has to be spent. Spending a lot of money doesn’t mean you’ll achieve more. From our point of view, it is more important to inspire 100,000 people than to be seen by 10 million people. In addition, Starcraft and Rocket League are very open sports, where anyone is theoretically able to step up from amateur to professional.
About the person: Dario “TLO” Wünsch is one of the most famous German e-athletes. The 30-year-old has been active in the real-time strategy game since the StarCraft 2 beta, until he ended his professional career in 2020 and moved to Shopify Rebellion as manager. Born in Leipzig, he lives with his family in Toronto, Canada.
Stand: 11.06.2021, 16:06
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