Former Microsoft Finance Manager Ventures into Esports to Debut XP League Esports Franchise in Seattle Area
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Former Microsoft Finance Manager Ventures into Esports to Debut XP League Esports Franchise in Seattle Area

Unleashed Brands Marks Milestone with Launch of First XP League in Pacific Northwest

December 01, 2023 // // DALLAS, Texas - XP League, the first and largest esports franchise in North America, and part of the youth enrichment growth-focused platform Unleashed Brands, has debuted the brand in the Seattle market this month with a couple making a career leap to franchise ownership. Rick and Elizabeth Butenko bring a unique blend of professional backgrounds and join a national trend of professionals leveraging their skills and experiences through franchise entrepreneurship to invest in youth enrichment with Unleashed Brands.

Rick Butenko is a former Microsoft employee who spent 12 years of his career in finance management before he was let go like many others throughout the major tech sector layoffs earlier this year. During his tenure at Microsoft, he honed his financial and consumer marketing expertise and is now choosing to roll those skills into business ownership with XP League, which he says is giving him the opportunity to work for himself and align his entrepreneurial portfolio with a tech passion.

He is running the business with his wife, Elizabeth Butenko, a Doctor of Physical Therapy with nearly 12 years of practice, who recently made a strategic decision to transition from her medical career. The couple’s decision to invest in XP League is fueled by their passion for youth enrichment, community development and the successful track record of XP League franchises and Unleashed Brands’ portfolio of businesses.

The couple held a grand opening of the new XP League arena at 12537 116th Ave. NE Kirkland, Wash. on Nov. 18. attended by families with kids aged in the range of seven to seventeen years old. Parents were able to sign their kids up for the winter season to compete with rolling admission in place so kids can still join mid-season and compete in league matches. The Butenko’s are confident in their ability to succeed in the Seattle market and plan to expand and grow their portfolio of Unleashed Brands in their community. They say opening the esports franchise brand is not only providing the couple control over their own futures, but also a chance to build a family legacy for their three children and provide jobs and contribute to the economic impact in their local community.

“This venture represents more than just our passion for the growing esports industry. It’s also a strategic move for my career and my family’s financial stability,” said Rick Butenko. “XP League stood out to us because of the robust support and advanced technology offered by the Unleashed Brands platform, as well as a proven track record of success in other markets. This is a significant step in leveraging my expertise gained during my tenure at Microsoft, aligning it with our entrepreneurial ambitions, and building something that goes beyond just a business – it's a personal investment in our future success.”

Launched in 2020, XP League offers a nine-week seasonal program including one practice and one match a week. Each team is led by a coach who focuses on teaching resiliency, teamwork, and sportsmanship in addition to gaming skills. By integrating these values into the core format of its programming, kids see the positive reward as an exciting part of the overall experience. XP League is growing rapidly throughout the United States and looking for entrepreneurs to fulfill its mission.

For information about franchising with XP League, visit

About XP League

XP League is the first-to-market youth esports league franchise that bridges the gap between conventional youth athletics and competitive esports. XP League provides an innovative program that fosters social skills and sportsmanship through a positive, certified coach-led structure. Launched in September 2020, XP League has quickly grown to become the first and largest esports franchise concept the U.S. and Canada.

About Unleashed Brands

Unleashed Brands currently includes portfolio brands Urban Air, Snapology, The Little Gym, XP League, Class 101 and Premier Martial Arts and was founded to curate and grow a portfolio of the most innovative and profitable brands that help kids learn, play and grow. Over the last 10 years, the team at Unleashed Brands has built a proven platform and know-how for scaling businesses focused on serving families. Its mission is to impact the lives of every kid by providing fun, engaging and inspiring experiences that help them become who they are destined to be. For more information, please visit



Media Contact:

Ben Franc
Fishman Public Relations
(815) 999-9441

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