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During two full days of insightful and motivational sessions you will learn not only what ESTA is all about, but hear from top-minds in the industry addressing where the business of esports currently is and where it’s going. Our speakers will dig into unique topics including how states, cities, and venues are investing in esports, how potential esports sponsors are evaluating their commitments to the industry, and what challenges the esports industry is facing and what the industry can do better.
Join us and be a part of this can’t-miss conference full of networking opportunities and insightful panels!
The profit from this event will go towards ESTA’s Membership Program where we will be funding esports research, professional development initiatives, creating an Esports Buyer's Guide, hosting member meetups nationally, and more!
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Rohan Bose is a senior financial analyst. Rohan has valuation experience in engagements related to corporate planning and reorganizations, financial reporting, fairness opinions, litigation support, employee stock ownership plans, and estate and gift tax planning and compliance matters. Rohan also has significant knowledge of the professional sports and esports industries.
Rohan’s has been a casual gamer since a young age. His interest in esports developed when he attended a Dallas Startup Week event in 2018 that introduced him to the industry. Since that time, Rohan has published a series of whitepapers that focus on the esports industry from a valuation perspective.
Asante Bradford is Project Manager for Digital Entertainment and Emerging Media for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the sales and marketing arm for the State of Georgia.
The Global Commerce Division conducts extensive business development, sales, marketing and promotional activities in order to attract entertainment projects and businesses to the state. The division’s team also assists the local, national and international entertainment industries with information, expertise and resources.
Asante helps promote the growth of the digital media industry as well as identify initiatives that will help grow businesses for the state of Georgia in interactive entertainment and eSports. He also helps educate potential prospects and provide clients with information about the Georgia Entertainment Industry Incentives Act.
His area of concentration with the Global Commerce office is to increase the impact of interactive entertainment for the State of Georgia as well as being a dedicated liaison to assist with promotions, logistics and business development for attracting digital media companies outside the state to relocate in Georgia.
Esports is becoming an economic driver for Georgia with Fortune 500 companies, a thriving tech center, film, TV and videogame tax incentives all play into the mix. Georgia esports is also a sanctioned activity at the local high school level with a focus on STEM exposure.
Ed Bunnell is a 25 year veteran in the digital entertainment space.
Ed most recently worked at FOX Sports Media Group where he served as SVP of Programming & Content. Ed Bunnell joined FOX Sports Interactive in 2001 and currently serves as Senior Vice President of Programming & Content. In that role, he developed and executed the site’s editorial and video programming strategy. FOX Sports Interactive averaged more than 35 million monthly unique visitors under Bunnell’s direction. Ed recruited and signed a number of high-profile editorial contributors including award-winning columnists Jason Whitlock, Mark Kriegel, Ken Rosenthal, Alex Marvez, John Paul Morosi and Lee Spencer.
He also headed the site’s industry-leading venture into the production and distribution of video content with the creation of FOX Sports Digital Entertainment, a unit commissioned in September 2009 to create Internet-only programming exclusively for FOXSports.com on MSN. FOXSports.com typically produces more than four hours a day of exclusive Web video including the acclaimed “Lunch with Benefits” series, a weekday programming lineup of five lunch-time shows that evolves to stay current with the sports calendar.
Prior to FOX Sports Interactive, Bunnell was Executive Producer for Sports at Electronic Arts, where he coordinated production and programming for EA.com from 2000 to 2001. Less than three months after launch, EA.com ascended to the Web’s No. 1 gaming destination and under Bunnell’s supervision, the user base multiplied by more than 600%.
Prior to that, Bunnell served in a variety of senior production and programming roles at both Alta Vista and CBS Sportsline (now CBSSports.com).
Bunnell graduated from Plymouth State College in Plymouth, New Hampshire with a BS in Business
Conroy joined Switch as its Vice President of Gaming leading company's global expansion in gaming and esports, further building its global transmission and production services business in the rapidly growing world of competitive gaming. He came to Switch with extensive experience in professional gaming having most recently served as chief development officer for Next Gen Tech, the parent company of Complexity Gaming, which was sold to Jerry Jones (and the Dallas Cowboys) last year. Conroy was instrumental in the redevelopment of Complexity and its international expansion, which began in 2011. Conroy was also a fan favorite in The Championship Gaming series, which aired on DirecTV, and served as general manager of the Dallas Venom for over two seasons. He is regarded as one of the early pioneers in professional gaming and has served in leadership roles in additional gaming entities.
As Chief Revenue Officer for Texas A&M Athletics Pat led the school’s pioneering efforts into esports. Working closely with students, faculty and campus administrators Pat organized online tournaments, integrated corporate sponsors, involved student casters in tournament broadcasts, launched a massively successful esports summer camp, and laid the groundwork for a dedicated esports facility on campus. Sensing a bigger opportunity beyond College Station, Pat left A&M last fall to focus full time on collegiate esports. Today he is working with a select group of partners who are striving to ensure the healthy and sustainable growth of collegiate esports in the U.S. and around the globe.
Martin Dachselt is the Managing Director of Berlin-based data startup Bayes Esports Solutions. Martin has over 20 years of top-level management experience in tech startups. He served as CTO for DOJO Madness, Smartfrog, and Delivery Hero, and as VP Operations for Click&Buy. Martin oversees the daily operation and overall strategy for Bayes.
John has a diverse professional background including skateboarding, business development, video production, and marketing. After pursuing his dream as a professional skateboarder, John went back to school to receive his bachelor’s degree in marketing from California State University, Sacramento.
After graduating, John joined a friend in Dallas, TX to launch a startup animation studio. Over five years, they grew the studio to a team of seven, working with top brands including Nike, MTV, Rob Dyrdek, Vans, Fox Sports and ESPN. John then went on to join The Marketing Arm and produce live-action and animation for AT&T, Nissan, Goodyear, and Topgolf.
John also led non-endemic partnerships and the esports strategy for GameStop, the world’s largest specialty gaming retailer. His experience within subcultures and leading a brand in this space brings a unique perspective, informing non-endemics how to effectively enter and add value to the esports community.
Today John leads esports business development for Production Resource Group (PRG), the world’s leading entertainment and event tech solutions company, providing turnkey services for concerts, TV/Film, corporate, events, trade shows & more.
Tom is a lifelong gamer and the Director of Esports Marketing and Partnerships at Wisdom Gaming Group where his team helps brands understand, evaluate, and execute marketing strategies within the esports and gaming space. With clients including Jack Link’s, The Minnesota Twins, X Rocker and Element Electronics, his work has been primarily focused on getting non-endemic brands into the scene as there are many exciting first-mover opportunities in verticals where competitors haven’t adapted yet.
He got his start as a gamer on the Atari 7800, but discovered his passion for gaming by playing Final Fantasy I on the NES. Beginning his career in marketing as a programmer at Colle McVoy, he used his technical background to help start a brand innovation department focused on studying technology trends and helping clients like Land O’ Lakes, Target, Invisalign, Optum, and CHS stay ahead of the competition. After closely watching the meteoric rise of esports, he was excited to start at Wisdom.GG where he can combine his professional and personal passions.
Edward Gold is a Partner, Head of Brand Partnerships at Inverted. He has over 25+ years of marketing, media and sponsorship experience.
Over the years, Edward was named an “Online Media All-Star” by Mediapost, one of the “21 Most Intriguing People in Media” by min online, was named one of CableFAX’s “Sweet 16”, and most recently was inducted in the Marketing, Advertising, and Media “Leaders & Legends” by Media Village.
Edward has overseen partnerships with the NBA, Disney/Pixar, ESPN, Riot Games, Major League Baseball, Telemundo, and Apple. He had expanded State Farm’s media efforts in traditional, online, and new media, through innovative thinking while achieving business goals.
Before coming to Inverted, Edward was Partner/Media Director for the Gold Consulting Group in Los Angeles, CA. Additionally, his previous experience includes Senior Vice President/Media Director at Kalis & Savage Worldwide Partners in Los Angeles, Vice President/Sales & Business Development for Executive Sports International, and Vice President/Associate Media Director at DDB Needham Chicago.
Edward is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and lives in Bloomington, IL, with his wife Lynne and two boys, Montgomery (15) and Henry (13).
Stephen received an education in Music Business and has since built a career in representing the commercial interests and brand experience needs of marquee clients in the sports and entertainment industries. Over the course of Stephen’s tenure, he has held roles in sales leadership and strategic business development, as well as account and project management. It was in these roles that Stephen sat at the crossroads of inspired creative thinking and technical innovation, allowing for a more holistic and informed understanding of how to maximize the human experience.
Daniel Herz is the current Chief Revenue Officer for Mission Control, a company that provides organizations the opportunity to create recreational esports leagues. Daniel started his career in traditional sports and entertainment with the Denver Broncos and the City of Denver's venues. In 2016, Daniel joined the esports community with Electronic Sports League, ESL. During his time at ESL, Daniel managed all major US partners as well as had a hand in leading strategic initiatives with college conferences and traditional sports properties. Daniel was just previously Complexity Gaming's Chief Revenue Officer leading all revenue opportunities working with partners such as GameStop, Miller Coors, US Army, MSI, HyperX, WinStar, Panini and H4X .
Neil Johnson is the first director of esports for Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia. In this role, he leads esports business development efforts and helps to establish Events DC at the forefront of the fast-growing sector of competitive video-gaming.
Events DC owns and/or operates some of the national capital’s most iconic venues, including the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium & Campus, the non-military functions of the DC Armory, the historic Carnegie Library at Mt.
Vernon Square and the Gateway DC events pavilion in the city’s Congress Heights neighborhood. The organization also built and serves as landlord for Nationals Park, the first LEED-certified major professional sports stadium in the United States and home of the current World Series Champion, Washington Nationals.
Neil joins Events DC with over 20 years of experience spanning esports, analog sports and major event planning and helps build strategic partnerships for Events DC within the burgeoning esports industry.
Prior to working for Events DC, Neil held leadership positions at the Tropicana Las Vegas, the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board where he was instrumental in developing key stakeholder relationships with regional and industry organizations to promote awareness for the LA Tourism. Most recently Neil represented MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas as an industry thought-leader at conventions and conferences where he was responsible for managing and developing industry relationships with key players like Activision Blizzard, Twitch, ESL, Dreamhack, NBA2K, US Army Esports, Drone Racing League, Fraternity Executives Association and the National Panhellenic Conference.
A resident of Washington, DC, Neil received a Bachelor of Sciences Degree in Business Administration from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. Neil is a recipient of the Connect 2018 GameChanger Award and serves or has served as a board member for the XLive Esports Summit Customer Advisory Board and the Esports Business Summit Advisory Board.
As Executive Vice President Americas, Greg most recently oversaw Perform Group’s commercial content licensing strategy and execution. He oversaw a team managing business activities supporting traditional media, emerging technology, pro sports teams/properties, fantasy sports operators, betting platform providers and sportsbooks.
Previously, Greg led STATS LLC for the past 20 years as Senior Vice President of Sales and Global Partnerships. In his role Greg had responsibility for Sales, Marketing and Revenue Operations. This included oversight for all commercial revenue, sales related systems, processes, training and marketing communication. Greg helped transition STATS from a U.S. sports data provider to a global leader in sports analytics, content and software.
Greg founded and developed strategic partnerships consisting of ESPN, Verizon/Yahoo, NBC/Comcast, CBS, Fox Sports, The Score, Rogers, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Snap, Televisa and Globo, along with hundreds of multi-sports team and league partnerships.
Greg holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications and a Master of Science in Sports Management from Illinois State University. Greg participated on the Advisory Board for both the Sports Business Program in the John Cook School of Business at St. Louis University and the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida. He is currently an advisor for Stadia Ventures, in St. Louis, MO.
Wendy Lecot is actively pioneering gaming lifestyle partnerships and experiences for HyperX. She looks for non-gaming brands that want to strengthen their relationship with gamers or want to get to know gamers better.
She is better at watching video game play versus playing them, but she still considers herself a gamer! She participates in thought leadership roles providing mentoring sessions on working with brands in the #esports industry and women in esports, and she has previously been a speaker at gaming conferences and marketing summits.
Super powers: serious energy, resourcefulness, self-starter, creativity, agility, ready with a Plan B.
Specialties: esports, gaming sponsorship, brand campaigns, global marketing strategies, global product launches, digital marketing, social media strategies, Facebook community development, Twitter, Instagram audience building, SnapChat Swipe to Buy, YouTube channel optimization, content marketing, product messaging, product positioning, market research, channel marketing, word of mouth marketing, high tech products, multi-lingual search engine marketing (Google Adwords, Yandex, Baidu), Sprinklr social enterprise platform, global product management, pay per click advertising, media buying, quarterly business review reporting, campaign tracking, remarketing, influencer marketing, team building, contracts, sales, budgeting, and management.
With over 20 years of experience in sports marketing and innovation, Rebecca is an advisor, investor and master connector in the esports space. As the former Brand Manager for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx, she worked to align sales and marketing efforts and ensure consistent brand integrity throughout both franchises. Currently, she runs her own esports consultancy agency, Happy Warrior. Her mission is to come alongside non-endemic brands to help them navigate and activate strategic partnerships in the world of esports.
Robert is a veteran strategist and marketing and communications professional. He is currently the Senior Associate Athletics Director/External Communications at Louisiana State University overseeing all communications and marketing functions, media relations, branding, digital media, digital marketing, creative services and content development for LSU Athletics.
Esports Interest: As esports continues to grow internationally and on college campuses across the nation, we are exploring ways in which we can get more involved as an athletic department and university.
Donny works at Brightline Interactive as the Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships. Brightline Interactive is a team of creative technologists that design, build, and install interactive and virtual reality experiences at events, permanent display areas, and simulation environments. Brightline CREATIONS are engaging, scalable, and contagious.
Donny started his career working in the music industry in late 2001. Donny worked on developing new online technologies with partnering companies that helped promote and discover new talent. Some of the companies Donny worked with included Guitar Center, Avid Systems, Warner/Chappell, Billboard, Academy of Country Music, MTV, Oxygen Network, USA Network, Lifetime, New Line Cinema, Sony, Peavey, Yamaha, Electro-Voice (EV), Shure, IK Multimedia, PreSonus, Korg, and CAD Microphone.
Donny then went on to work in the video streaming industry to help some of the largest corporations and associations adopt online video for their events. It was during this time that Donny formed a partnership with Production Resource Group, one of the largest entertainment and event Technology Companies in the world. Donny then went on to work at Production Resource Group and lead the strategy for the eSports Vertical Market as well as lead the PRG Digital Engagement Services at PRG. This team provides the latest digital solutions for the association, corporate, entertainment industries.
Payne’s career is dedicated to showing brands the impact their marketing and sponsorship efforts have on the sports and entertainment industries. Spending money is great but what does it all mean? Is it positively impacting the business? Payne works to ensure the insights are concise and practical for application by key brand executives.
Payne’s career began in Chicago with Navigate Research as the first employee. After five years of growing the agency in headcount, clients, and offices, Payne joined Killerspin Table Tennis. While at Killerspin, Payne managed all brand and sponsorship projects, including sponsored players. His success led to also overseeing manufacturing partnership and streamlining the introduction of new products, leading to time spent in Europe and China.
Currently, Payne leads research and measurement initiatives for The Marketing Arm’s sports and entertainment clients, focused on showing the impact of sponsorship and marketing programs on the key business drivers for brands. His team’s work has led to a streamlined measurement approach resulting in quicker and more consistent data reporting and provides client executives with important information for crucial partnership decisions.
Throughout Payne’s career, he has experience with brands such as AT&T, State Farm, and Mercedes Benz Australia, leagues including the NFL and MLS, the NCAA and major universities, agencies such as AEG and Wasserman, and government organizations including the British Airport Authority and Chinese Table Tennis Association.
Outside of work, Payne is focused on his family – a wife and two small children – and involvement in other organizations including the Navy Pier Associate Board and National Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day Chicago.
Heath Price has grown up around higher education, having spent over 10-years at two flagship research universities - LSU and the University of Kentucky (UK). Additionally, he had the opportunity to work in the private sector as a partner to many institutions across the United States.
In his current role at the University of Kentucky, Heath serves as the Associate CIO in ITS. Most recently he has been a core member of a cross-functional campus team at UK that is charged with building a comprehensive and thought approach to engaging gaming and Esports through the University-environment.
Mathew Ratner is currently the Associate Director for Sports & Entertainment Tourism at the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. The goal of the Sports & Entertainment Tourism department is to attract, promote and retain sporting events, conferences, and conventions for Greater Miami and the Beaches. Most recently, Ratner played an integral part in Greater Miami being named one of 23 candidate host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup United Bid for North America, organizing local efforts for Miami-Dade County. He also worked with the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee and College Football National Championship Host Committee in the communities’ preparations for Super Bowl LIV as well as the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship.
Ratner has been in the sports & entertainment business for more than 12 years, working with collegiate as well as professional and amateur sports organizations in various positions ranging from media relations to development and marketing. He started his career at the University of South Florida Sports Information Department before stints with the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League, the Miami Dolphins and Florida International University Athletics.
A native of New York, New York, Ratner holds an undergraduate degree in communications from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in recreation and sport management from Florida International University.
Kevin Reape is the General Manager of Mizzou Esports at the University of Missouri, one of the largest public institutions in the country to officially add a varsity esports program. Kevin graduated from Mizzou in 2014 with a degree in business and immediately began working full-time for the University of Missouri in the marketing offices of Student Affairs. In 2018, when the University began looking at new initiatives that excited the next generation of college students, Kevin knew that esports was the answer, and began developing a plan to create a program unlike any other that exists. Just 15 months later, Mizzou Esports has 21 scholarship student athletes who practice and compete in the 5,000-square-foot MSI Training Facility on campus. The rosters compete in Overwatch, Rocket League, and League of Legends, and have seen tremendous success in just 6 months of competition. Rocket League won the NACE Rocket League Championship in Atlanta, Georgia in November, Overwatch was one of 12 teams to be invited to compete in the Tespa Varsity Invitational last fall, and League of Legends is competing in an RSAA-sanctioned (Riot Scholastic Association of America) Midwest Esports Conference this spring semester, traveling to universities in Kansas, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri for regular season matches. Learn more about Mizzou Esports on Twitter @MizzouEsports.
Greg Skasko is the CEO of Abacus3, the esports firm dedicated to community building through strategic brand partnerships. Skasko is a leader in sports and entertainment marketing and technologies, having held various key positions at AT&T and Blockbuster before starting Abacus3 with his partners. Greg resides in Dallas, Texas with his wife and daughter.
Rahul Sood is the co-founder of Unikrn, a global Esports entertainment and sports betting platform built on cutting edge blockchain and gaming technologies.
Previous to Unikrn, Sood created the first incubation fund for startups at Microsoft, and eventually he consolidated their global startup activities and launched Microsoft Ventures.
A serial entrepreneur, Sood spent 18 years in multiple startups prior to joining Microsoft. He founded luxury and gaming computer manufacturer VoodooPC, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard. Sood is an early shareholder and advisor to Maingear, Razer, ZED, and Vrvana which was recently acquired by Apple.
Unikrn’s mission as a global esports entertainment platform is to heighten the experience of watching and participating in esports. Unikrn uses blockchain technology to optimize the payment flow for customers while allowing them to bet using the currency of their choice on a full array of Esports and Video Game offerings.
Unikrn is venture backed with investors such as Ashton Kutcher, Mark Cuban, Liz Murdoch, Shari Redstone, and many others. Unikrn built an end to end betting platform that can be licensed by commercial operators, and they have opened their doors to multiple international markets. Unikrn has been featured on Forbes, Fortune, ESPN, CNBC and countless publications around the world.
Sood is active in the startup community, helping and mentoring a variety of startups. In his spare time, Sood enjoys wake surfing & wake boarding, standup paddle boarding, cycling, racing cars and spending time with his family. He lives in Seattle, you can find him on Twitter @rahulsood. You can find Unikrn on Twitter @unikrnco.
As a Senior Marketing Manager at Molson Coors Beverage Company, Justine’s team is responsible for bringing Miller Lite’s purpose to life in sports & passion points that give the brand a voice relevant to consumers today. She is responsible for steering Miller Lite’s gaming strategy and integrated programs, as well as building authentic connections through strategic partnerships.
Justine has 14 years of experience in Sales & Marketing within the beer industry. Her marketing experience is vast from working on smaller incubator brands, launching new innovation and driving meaningful results with some of the most iconic brands in beer.
Justine holds a BBA in Entertainment, Sport, and Promotion Management from Northwood University and lives in Chicago, IL.
Player turned play-by-play commentator, Justin Varghese brings a unique perspective to the esports space. Now serving as the North American Marketing Manager for DreamHack, Justin's role revolves around carefully planning and executing regional activations to galvanize key markets and demographics, while simultaneously scoping out larger plays to increase brand awareness on the western hemisphere.
How I approach marketing is similar to how I approach play by play commentary: at the end of the day, it's all about the narrative.
Driven by my passion, vision, and experience in successfully managing multiple trade associations, we founded the Esports Trade Association in 2018. Through our programs, ESTA will promote, protect, and advance the broader interests of the esports community. Looking back at the overwhelming growth in tournaments and viewership, many of my friends, colleagues and family members are amongst these growing millions of people participating in esports. As a result, I’ve been keeping my eye on the industry and recognize the need for support from a trade association where stakeholders, organizations, leagues, and players can come together to thrive as an industry.
Kevin Vonasek combines over 20-years of leadership experience in the B2B-enterprise-software sector focused on the digital entertainment & gaming industries. Previously as Chief Product Office Americas for NYX Gaming Group and more recently as VP of Business Development Americas for Scientific Games Digital, Kevin is one of few Americans who have a strong comprehension of the unique product, regulatory and commercial challenges associated with conducting the business of digital wagering in US markets. In May 2020 Kevin launched Vonasek Gaming Group, a consulting firm advising operators on strategy and navigation of US iGaming & Sports Betting expansion.
Doug Watson is the head of Esports Insights for Riot Games. An alumni of Bentley University, Doug began his career working in consulting and ad tech, helping to drive audience centric analytics through major financial, automotive, and travel companies among others. He joined Riot Games, developers of League of Legends and operators of 13 professional leagues, 3 years ago.
As the head of Esports insights, Doug and his team are responsible for expressing the voice of the player through data, providing expertise in media measurement, and assisting in the product and strategy development of esports. This group works across all 13 leagues and 3 international events to capture insights and drive better decisions across Esports and Riot Games. As leaders in the esports space, this team works across industry to create a healthy and sustainable ecosystem for esports to thrive.
When not focusing on esports, Doug can be found skiing, watching hockey, and traveling with his wife Christine.
Federico Winer is a doctoral researcher within the Institute for Sport Business. As an entertainment industry leader and former broadcast journalist, he is exploring how different technologies can help the esports ecosystem to create more accurate data.
Federico brings expertise and a deep understanding of how humanities and IT can coexist to the table. He has been working within the media, sports and entertainment sectors since he started his career. He's a highly sought after industry influencer and passionate evangelist in his field. Besides his commitment to the industry, he is a dedicated lecturer at several leading international educational institutions.
Federico holds grades in Journalism and Media (TEA, 2001), Computing Science and Telecommunications (IES, 2004), Humanities (UOC, 2018) and an Executive Master in Business Administrations (EADA/UCLA, 2014).
PhD research description
In the sports and entertainment industries, esports has a global momentum that sets it apart from any other segment of the market. Studies such as that of Merwin and Sugiyama (2018, 4), predict two digits of growth in three areas: audience, prizes and monetization for the period 2018-2022. In this regard, leader consultancy companies such as PwC and Newzoo estimate a growth between 50 to 80% by 2021 (PwC, 2018). The sponsorship and advertising segment accounts for 60% of the industry's income (IAB, 2018), which stands at around 533 million euros per year in 2018. However, the way in which numbers are reported around this Industry is still a dark area in which information is fragmented and not accessible to the different stakeholders in a transparent and accessible way.
The purpose of this research is the search for solutions to the problem of audience measurement and decision of sponsorship investments in esports. The work analyses examples from other industries that have already adopted the use of other technological processes.
Michael Wisnios, who holds a bachelor’s in History and Political Science from Northern Illinois University, along with a Certificate in Civic-Engagement, directs all esports programming for the university—including the League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive; Call of Duty; Smash Brothers; Rocket League, and Overwatch teams. Outside of being a part of RMU, he is also a Founding Advisor for GGLeagues, and a part of the eFuse Collegiate Advisory Board.
During his time as a student at Northern Illinois, Wisnios helped author the esports club’s constitution and served as a coach for its League of Legends teams. Wisnios was also elected to the position of Student Senator and served as the Neptune Hall Treasurer and Representative within the student government. Prior to his time at NIU, Wisnios was Vice President of the Video Game Club at McHenry County College and was also affiliated with the MCC esports program.
“Michael is a respected member of the esports community and is dedicated to growing gaming opportunities on campus,” remarked Athletic Director Jared Williamson. “Robert Morris University is a pioneer in the world of esports and we are excited to have a professional with Michael’s credentials leading our gaming programs.”
Dr. Williams worked for three of the largest Sports Brands in the world: Champs Sports, Footaction and Reebok. He is also considered one of the leading educators in the world in Sports Marketing.
Dr. Williams is the inaugural Global Scholar Practitioner at one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Florida Memorial University, where he will prepare students in careers in STEM & ESPORTS. Currently, he is in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education on identifying ESPORTS programming and funding for HBCU’s in higher education.
Dr. Williams is indeed a pioneer in Sports and Entertainment. He was instrumental in many firsts:
The Videogame Industry
Negotiated the 1st product placement deal for athletic retail industry for Athletic Retailer “Footaction” for the 2003 award-winning “Streethoops” basketball game by videogame publisher Activision/Blizzard. He also did product placement in 50 Videogames.
Hip Hop Artist Collaboration
Signed the first Hip Hop Artist to a monumental sports retail collaborative deal: Grammy Award winner artist Eve and record label Ruff Ryder, as an executive for athletic retailer Footaction.
Co-created one of the most successful grassroots basketball tours: “The AND1 Mix Tape Tour,” a deal between athletic retailer Footaction the AND1 footwear company.
During his tenure at Champs Sports, he was in charge of marketing and advertising, where he also managed the company’s partnerships with the following organizations: NBA, NFL, MLB, ESPN, EA Sports, Activision, Nintendo, 20th Century Fox, Atlantic Records, Universal Music Group, Geffin Récords and Def Jam Records.
Dr. Williams also led a team that created college football’s “Champs Sports Bowl” that featured NCAA teams in the ACC & Big East with a bowl game payout of $4.25 Million for each team. He negotiated product placement in over 120 Music Videos, 75 Feature Films- including Oscar Award winning film “Sideways.” In addition, he worked with several legendary icons, such as Michael Jordan, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Aaliyah, Venus Williams, 50 Cent, Allen Iverson, Maroon 5 and Will Farrell to name a few.
CNN named Dr. Williams as one of the Top 20 Inspirational Speakers in the World. His insights have been featured in media outlets such as CBS Evening News, BBC World News and CNN.
Dr. Williams has earned his Bachelors in Sociology from William Paterson University, a Masters in Sport Management from the University of Massachusetts and a Doctorate in Education Leadership & Curriculum from West Virginia University.
Rick Wolf is the President of FA Media LLC. In his role there, he is leading the company operationally to create entertaining and informative content for the fantasy sports and sports betting industries. FantasyAlarm.com is a leader in the fantasy sports industry with drive time radio on SiriusXM plus more content and customizable tools than any other fantasy company. WagerAlarm.com is a burgeoning property producing the same kind of content plus custom tools experience as the flagship property.
Wolf is a SiriusXM radio personality. He co-hosts Colton and the Wolfman on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio with Glenn Colton since 2012 bringing high-energy hijinks to the airwaves.
Wolf is a founding Board Member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA), a non-profit organization with the mission of raising awareness worldwide for Fantasy Sports. Wolf served as FSTA Chairman from 2002 to 2006 and Treasurer from 2016 to 2018. In 2011, Wolf was inducted into the Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame.
Rick Wolf is the Founder of Full Moon Sports Solutions, a company dedicated to delivering solutions to sports companies with a specialty in Fantasy Sports.
From 2006-2011, Wolf was Director of Business Development for NBC Sports Digital. In this role, he focused on creating partnerships that expanded the digital sports businesses of NBC, including NBCSports.com, Rotoworld.com and NBCOlympics.com during a period of unprecedented growth.
Prior to that, Wolf was EVP of Strategic Partnerships for Allstar Stats (Rotoworld). Wolf created partnerships including USA Today, FOX Sports, NHL, MLB, CBS Sports and MAXIM. Wolf defined a business model that balanced B2B services with B2C premium products & free content allowing Allstar Stats to grow into a favorable acquisition target. In August 2006, NBC Universal purchased Allstar Stats, Rotoworld.com and Sandbox.com.
In early 1995, Wolf was the 13th employee at SportsLine USA which later became CBS SportsLine after a November 1997 public offering. In 1997, Wolf designed a plan for the consolidation of the Fantasy Industry under the CBS SportsLine brand. In 1998, Wolf created the partnership with Commissioner.com that led to building the best fantasy sports suite on the Internet and spearheaded relationships with both MLB and NFL for official Fantasy Products legitimizing the hobby with mainstream America.
From 1987-1995, Wolf was part of the technology team at IBM’s PRODIGY that produced Baseball Manager, the first online Fantasy Sports game.
Wolf is an avid player of fantasy sports. Colton & The Wolfman have won five USA Today LABR American League titles, two TOUT Wars American League titles, two FSTA baseball titles and ten Fantasy Football Expert league titles in the last 17 years.
ESTA has been closely following the spread and impact of coronavirus within the context of the upcoming EsportsNext conference. Rest assured that the health and safety of our speakers, members, and attendees is our top priority.
After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry – our speakers, members, conference attendees, and staff – we have made the difficult decision to not hold live EsportsNext 2020, scheduled for April 6-7, 2020 in Chicago.
Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation. We are very disappointed that we are unable to hold this event as scheduled for the industry and our supporters. But we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.
We thank everyone who shared their views on reimagining EsportsNext this year. We look forward to bringing you a digital experience this fall that will position you to stay ahead of the rapidly developing esports industry with on-demand content culminating in a live networking event.
Thank you for your understanding, and we look forward to seeing you at future ESTA digital and in-person events.
We are bringing together the key stakeholders, business executives, and leaders in the esports industry from around the nation to network, learn from each other, and discuss the future of esports. The audience we are targeting to invite to the conference are primarily business executives and leaders from:
+ Game Development Companies
+ Non-Endemic Brands
+ CVBs / Sports Authorities
+ Event Logistics / Production Companies
+ Tournament Organizers
+ VC & PE Firms
+ Universities / Colleges
+ Professional Sports Teams
+ News & Media Platforms
+ Influencers / Content Creators
Each attendee will need to register for the conference.
The registration fee is due upon registration. Cancellations emailed to the ESTA Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 5:00 pm CST on Sunday, March 1, 2020, are eligible for a refund of the registration fee, with exception of an administration fee of $250. No refunds will be provided for cancellations received after the cancellation deadline. In the event of conference being rescheduled, sponsorships and registrations will be transferred to a new date. A member may transfer their registration to another member without penalty.
By registering for the conference, each attendee agrees to:
Receive email communications from ESTA and gives permission to ESTA to publish photographs or videos for educational and promotional purposes without compensation;
Share your contact information [name, title, company, email] with the conference sponsors;
Share your name and company (no contact info) on the Conference Attendee List for all conference participants during the meeting.