Dean Bender and Shawna Lynch (Courtesy of B/HI)
Entertainment marketing and production company Dolphin Entertainment is acquiring boutique gaming and e-sports PR firm B/HI, formerly known as Bender/Helper Impact.
Under the terms of the deal, B/HI will operate as a division of public relations agency and Dolphin subsidiary 42West, with B/HI founder Dean Bender and Shawna Lynch leading the unit as co-presidents. B/HI, founded by Bender in 1986, specializes in corporate and product communications across gaming, e-sports, entertainment programming and consumer products groups.
“The acquisition of B/HI provides a tremendous gateway into the last remaining large vertical of entertainment for our Super Group – video gaming and esports,” said Dolphin CEO Bill O’Dowd. “Video gamers are celebrities in their own right, and among the most popular social media influencers in the world. We believe the opportunities to cross-sell services with B/HI will be numerous, as will be the possibilities to create original content and live events. Dean and Shawna are seasoned, well-respected entertainment PR professionals who share our collaborative culture, and we couldn’t be more excited that they and the staff at B/HI have joined the Dolphin family.”
The agency has offices in Los Angeles and New York, and in addition to e-sports organizations such as Immortals, Super League Gaming and Team Liquid, B/HI has represented a wide range of companies, including Amazon Studios, Boat Rocker Media, CBS Home Entertainment, DC Comics, HBO Home Entertainment, Funko, Rovio Entertainment, Nexon, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
“It became immediately apparent to Shawna and me that by joining the Dolphin Entertainment Super Group of PR and marketing firms that we can really maximize our current client relationships as well as provide a wealth of uniquely-curated services to prospective clients,” said Bender. “We’ve always been aware of how dominant 42West is in the entertainment sector of public relations. It’s an honor to join Amanda and her team to be able to supplement and diversify the client roster.”
The multi-billion dollar gaming industry has grown steadily worldwide. A NewZoo report from December estimates that the market will generate $189.3 billion in global revenue in 2021 across 2.8 billion gamers, with annual cloud gaming revenue surpassing the $1 billion mark for the first time. And Insider Intelligence projects a 9% compound annual growth rate in e-sports viewership between 2019 and 2023, ultimately reaching 646 million.
In addition to 42West, The Door and Shore Fire Media are also subsidiaries of the publicly traded Dolphin Entertainment.
“Dean and Shawna have built a business with vision and relevance that could not be more at home at 42West,” said 42West CEO Amanda Lundberg. “I’m thrilled they have chosen to bring B/HI’s valuable expertise in gaming, e-sports and consumer products to 42West. This latest addition to the Dolphin collective of agencies will not only benefit existing and new clients but be a key step in our creation of assets.”
Variety's Elaine Low contributed to this post.