The Kansas City Pioneers became the first professional esports organization to step into the head-to-head gaming and gambling sphere thanks to its pairing with PLLAY Labs — an AI-based wagering platform.
“We see this partnership as a tremendous opportunity to tap into a community of folks who love competition — and then inject the KC Pioneers brand into it,” said Mark Josey, who serves as the CEO of the Kansas City Pioneers. “I think this is a really interesting way to emerge into new gaming spaces and bring the casual gamers to the pros.”
Click here to read more about the KC Pioneers.
Amauter and pro gamers can download the PLLAY app to host games with friends or join open matches to take on new players. The platform’s secure AI enforces fair gameplay by watching over each match, much like a referee, Josey explained.
Players connect their wallet to the PLLAY app, buy tokens for gameplay and keep 100 percent of the earnings, he continued. As the experience continues to evolve, Josey anticipates using the wagering and token economy to drive NFT activations.
“NFTs are now involving experiences — [for example] if I buy an NFT, then I automatically get a piece of merch or be invited to a Discord,” he explained. “We see a similar opportunity [through PLLAY]. Possibly there’s a Call of Duty tournament with one of the best players in the world; and if you pay to enter, then you get to play this tournament but also get coaching or invited to an exclusive discord afterwards.”
PLLAY currently operates with traditional currency transferred to tokens, but the platform was built with the ability to scale into cryptocurrency, Josey added.
“From [PLLAY’s] culture of innovation to how they engage with their community early on, they really do care about the esport athlete,” Josey said. “It plays into our mission, and that’s why we will continue to leverage each other and provide cool experiences to all our fans worldwide.”
Click here to download PLLAY on the App Store.
The KC Pioneers partnership announcement comes shortly after the organization revealed Price Chopper to be its exclusive grocery partner.
“We start with our philosophy, ‘Kansas City-founded and globally-driven.’” Josey explained.
“Price Chopper is a great staple to the community. With it being family-owned and Kansas City-based, it was a natural fit for us.”
Click here to read about the KC Pioneers securing a six-figure investment from a Kansas City-based investment management firm.
Esport events coming to KC
The KC Pioneers are working alongside the Kansas City Area Development Council, Visit KC and Microsoft to prepare for a spring Halo event in Kansas City.
“We’ve also been working with some of our local sponsors and larger global sponsors to have some really interesting experiences leading up to that event,” Josey teased. “That will be a cool way for community members to check out what it looks like to have a master-produced, head-to-head competition with some of the best teams in the world.”
Currently, the KC Pioneers’ Halo team is ranked sixth in the world.
“Hopefully our team wins the whole thing,” Josey said, smiling. “And if we crush it as a community — which I know we will — this is going to be a really great opportunity for tourism. It will show that Kansas City is a fantastic place to host these big tournaments.”
The Halo tournament is set to take place at the Kansas City Convention Center from April 29 to May 1. For more updates on the tournament and events leading up to it, follow the KC Pioneers on Twitter and Instagram.