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    LuponWXC investor Paulo Avelino believes esports will be ‘almost as big as showbiz’

    May 11, 2021
    PHOTO: LuponWXC

    ACTOR Paulo Avelino first met streamer and LuponWXC founder Nico ‘KuyaNic’ Nazario when he was giving away streaming equipment.

    Yes, Paulo Avelino — MMFF best actor, box office draw, the kind of guy entertainment columnists would call a “matinee idol” — donates streaming equipment.

    “Marami rin akong tinutulungan na local streamers na nasa gaming,” Avelino revealed in a presscon about his investment in esports company LuponWXC. “So syempre, marami akong ino-order abroad ng mga wala dito ng mga gamit, para ma-improve yung quality ng stream nila, or maging mas convenient sa kanila.”

    KuyaNic, already famous in the Pinoy Dota scene, contacted Avelino to ask if he could buy a piece of equipment from him. But the actor sent him what he needed — for free.

    “Sabi ko, bigay ko na lang. Hingi na lang ako pabor in the future,” Avelino recalled.

    He added, laughing: “Natakot ata sa pabor, so di na nag-reply.”

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      The favor, as it turned out, turned into a two-year friendship that finally culminated in Avelino’s partnership at LuponWXC, an esports organization with a multi-faceted business model. It holds the broadcast rights for several esports tournaments. It manages the career of several streamers and shoutcasters. It runs a popular Mobile Legends pro team, Execration.

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      As of the present, it has six studios and eight streaming rooms that pump out original content based on popular games like Mobile Legends and Dota 2.

      The company is also looking forward to the completion of a massive gaming facility in General Trias, Cavite, which will have a total of 11 broadcast studios.

      “What differs us from other companies is that we are focused on building events and IP,” explained KuyaNic during the press conference. “We are really building assets, papasikatin namin, and in a way, we are giving back to the community, because this is something that they deserve.”

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      Avelino takes care of the content production and curation side. As in his first meeting with KuyaNic, he makes sure that the streamers of LuponWXC all have cutting-edge equipment.

      In his esports role, he brings his well-honed chops in the showbiz industry. And we're not talking about his skill as an actor. Avelino was, after all, executive producer of last year’s much lauded Metro Manila Film Fest entry, Fan Girl, and recently put up his own film production company.

      “Ang role ko talaga dito sa Lupon, ayan, nagbabantay ako ng quality, chine-check ko na ayos lagi ang equipment,” he said, before adding, “Tapos marami pang on the side.”

      When he can, Avelino gets hand-on with operations. KuyaNic talked about their many Sunday meetings at their Cavite headquarters, and remembered one time when the actor drove all the way there to oversee one of their projects.

      “Meron kaming project na kailang maayos sa studio. Kinaumagahan, tinawagan ko si Pau, Right away pumunta siya nung umagang yun. Sobrang bilis. Di ko in-expect that Pau will be doing that for Lupon,” he said.

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      With his stake in LuponWXC, Avelino is making a big bet on an industry he’s sure will grow even more. He grew up playing CounterStrike in net cafes in Baguio, and now owns a powerful PC gaming rig to play Valorant on, but he's very much aware that his old childhood hobby has become a titanic industry.

      “I see this industry becoming as big as,” and here Avelino stops himself, “probably not as big as the showbiz industry, but almost tapping into there. Andun na. Nakikita niyo lahat ng streamers sa Facebook, sila [AkoSi]Dogie, sila Alodia [Gosiengfiao], and they get thousands and thousands of viewers.”

      He added: “Kumabaga, gusto talaga namin na patibayan pa itong industriya para mapakinabangan namin lahat in the future.”

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      PHOTO: LuponWXC
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