eSports has been a booming industry the past couple years, with expected revenues to surpass $1 billion. If this is your first time hearing about eSports, it is essentially competitive video gaming. In this blog post, I will be explaining a bit about the eSports industry, how I found a co-op position in this industry, and my experience working for an eSports company.
eSports has become a popular form of entertainment with millennials from the rise of the Internet and live streaming platforms like twitch.tv, however eSports is not only confined online. Recently in Seattle at the Key Arena, a tournament known as “The International” sold out and offered a $24 million prize pool to the competitors. This industry is not showing any signs of slowing down—every day you will find a new business emerge, huge contracts signed, and new investments made.
My Experience in eSports
I started gaming at the age of 15, casually playing with my friends after school. I started to become good at the game I played and I eventually became recognized and signed as an athlete and public figure with a professional team. Since joining the team, I had a strong relationship with management, and I recently got promoted as their social media coordinator. Working in the industry has overall been an amazing experience and I have learned a lot from it. As an athlete and public figure, it is not only about playing a game well, you must be able to market yourself and the brands you represent. If you cannot satisfy a sponsor’s needs, which is showcasing their brand to the audience, then you will have a hard time finding a team to play for.
Finding the Position
Finding a co-op position can be difficult, especially when you are competing with other top students from other schools as well as your own. Fortunately, you can do a self-directed co-op term where you take charge of finding your own placement and this is exactly what I did by networking. I was told by a connection about a networking event where many local eSports entrepreneurs would be in attendance. At the networking event, I talked to a variety of people with eSports-related businesses and these talks turned out to be very productive. To this day, I am still in engaging relationships with the people I met through networking. For the position I ended up getting, I found out about it through a connection that told me that the company was looking for a marketing associate with social media experience. As I had already been doing social media for my team with over 100,000 followers and since being a professional gamer is predominately marketing for your sponsors, I found this to be a great opportunity for me. As I had met the CEO at the networking event, I sent him a message on LinkedIn with my interest for the job and a few meetings later, I had secured the position.
The Experience and Skills I Gained
My official position was to be a marketing and community management intern. As it reads, the position can be interpreted broadly. I got to take on many different tasks I would not otherwise be able to in a large corporation that has many specialized roles. My main role was to manage the social media accounts for the company, however I also did work involving public relations, marketing analytics, event coordination, and business development with key influencers and vertically related businesses. Not only did I learn and explore new types of work, but I gained a wealth of skills that will be transferrable to many jobs I apply for in the future.
Since this company was relatively small in size, I had the chance to work closely with the CMO and CEO. Working and even just talking with them gave me lots of new insights on how real-world businesses come to life, how they grow, and what methods are taken to sustain it. I also got to expand my network and connections through them, meeting people with similar experiences and company investors.
Overall my first co-op position was a great one. Not only did I get to enhance my current knowledge and experience working in eSports, I also learned many new skills that will be useful in the future. I am looking forward to seeing where I can take this experience and the learnings from it moving forward.
Jordan Hong Tai is a BBA student concentrating in Finance and Marketing. He is an eSports enthusiast and has competed as a professional gamer for over two years. In addition, he has gained a lot of experience in the eSports industry working mainly in the area of social media marketing.