British actor Asa "Stimpy" Butterfield has joined Panda Global as the fighting game team's brand ambassador, giving the popular team a jersey-wearing Hollywood actor as a spokesperson.
"I've known the [Panda Global] guys for a few years now, in fact [Eric] 'ESAM' [Lew] and [Jestise] 'MVD' [Negron] were the ones who convinced me to go to my first major," Butterfield said in an interview with ESPN.
Moviegoers might know Butterfield most for playing Ender in the 2013 film "Ender's Game." He also is currently starring in Netflix's "Sex Education" as Otis Milburn.
"Adding Asa to the team felt as natural as adding any player that truly has a passion for Smash, both the game and competitive scene," Panda Global CEO Alan Bunney said. "To us, the difference between Asa joining Panda Global and other celebrities you see getting involved in esports is that he has a genuine love for scene, the community and the competition itself."
The team will have Butterfield stream content on Twitch, collaborate with other top players, appear in videos with the team's content director Jacob "Alpharad" Rabon IV on his popular YouTube channel and enter competitions.
Butterfield isn't new to the world of competitive gaming. In 2017, he competed at the Nintendo World Championships in New York. He also has competed at Evo, and he was at Genesis 6 earlier this month in Oakland, California. Butterfield doesn't bill himself as a gaming savant and acknowledges that top players out there are far better than he is. But he knows that he has a unique platform to act as a bridge between more mainstream audiences and esports.
"I hope I can help introduce PG -- and esports -- into a whole new demographic. There are many people who have no idea what esports even are and will laugh at the idea of a 'professional gamer,'" Butterfield said. "I think the players and the community that literally made people's dreams a possibility deserve recognition."