Usain Bolt becomes co-owner of Irish e-sports business Wylde

30 Mar 2022

David Cronin, Usain Bolt and Steve Daly. Image: Wylde

Dublin-based Wylde currently has teams competing in Rainbow Six Siege, Valorant, Rocket League and FIFA.

Sprinting champion Usain Bolt is getting involved in another fast-moving sport. Irish e-sports organisation Wylde announced today (30 March) that Bolt is joining the company as a co-owner.

Wylde was founded two years ago by Steve Daly, a former investment banker at JP Morgan, and David Cronin, former president and chief executive of the American Ireland Funds. Cronin was also previously chief operations officer of Qumas, the Cork-based software firm that was sold for $50m in 2013.

Future Human

Dublin-based Wylde is tapping into the growing world of e-sports and currently has teams competing in tournaments and leagues for the games Rainbow Six Siege, Valorant, Rocket League and FIFA.

According to a Business Post report earlier this year, the company had raised €375,000 in funding from several Ireland-based angel investors. Terms of Bolt’s stake have not been revealed.

Bolt made his name on the sprinting track, winning eight Olympic gold medals and securing 100-metre and 200-metre world records. He retired in 2017 and has spoken about his interest in gaming.

“Wylde is on a journey to becoming one of the biggest brands in the fastest-growing sport in the world,” Bolt said.

“I look forward to working with the Wylde leadership team to help our players to reach their potential, while also taking care of their physical and mental wellbeing.”

Cronin added that having Bolt on board would take Wylde “to the next level”.

“With his vast competitive experience and Olympic-winning mentality, his guidance will be invaluable as we continue to build professional structures to support the development of our players.”

E-sports is a growing business. It is predicted to attract 1bn worldwide viewers by 2025 and the amount of prize money to be earned from e-sports is expected to reach more than $540m globally next year.

It’s also an area that’s gaining traction in Ireland. Last October, League of Legends maker Riot Games shared its plans to open an e-sports broadcast centre in Dublin.

Science Foundation Ireland’s Lero research centre also opened the country’s first e-sports research lab in Limerick in 2019, designed to study the performance of amateur and professional e-sports players. Lero recently teamed up with Nvidia on a project to help gamers improve their chances of winning e-sports prize money.

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Sarah Harford is sub-editor of Silicon Republic