Produced by: By Alexis T. Thompson
Eleven students studying Sport Management in The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies attended the Sports Business Journal (SBJ)’s Esports Rising event in Manhattan, NY, on October 12-13.
The goal of Esports Rising was to explore and better understand the current state of and future opportunities in the esports industry. The group from St. John’s had the opportunity to listen to several panels that discussed topics including “Esports is Back Live: Stakeholders Share Vision Moving Forward”; “State of the Industry: Digging into the Data Points to Define Trends and Opportunities,” presented by Newzoo and SBJ; “Sponsorships: Where is the Money?”; “The Anatomy of the Deal/Deal Makers in Esports”; and “Part II: The Envy-OpTic Merger: A Look at the How, Why, and What’s Next.”
After listening to the panelists, participants had the opportunity to attend the League of Legends Worlds competition at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. “This competition was one of the most life-changing events for me to watch and see how all the things we learned about earlier in the day came together to make the event happen,” said senior Ryan Vu.
“It was a great experience to attend the event and close the day with the League of Legends,” said Maria Alfonso, Assistant Director of Career Services for the Collins College of Professional Studies. “My first time attending an active, live event of this magnitude, where thousands of young spectators so eagerly watched the best players from all over the globe compete in this month-long tournament, did not disappoint. Opportunities such as attending the Sport Business Journal’s Esports Rising event gives St. John’s University students advantages to learn outside of the classroom and network with professionals in the industry they would like to pursue once they graduate.”
The students enjoyed their time and gained knowledge of the electronic gaming and esports business. “The panels were very informative and helpful in giving us insight into what each company does and how they function along with some tips and tricks to how these businesses start,” said senior Aayana Evanson.
“I had a very good conversation with many of the panelists and attendees there, and as someone who is trying to learn more about the industry without a set focus on where I want to enter, the panelists were equally as responsive and welcoming to my questions as they were anyone else’s,” said senior Anjeanette M. Ang.
“This opportunity was great for us to market ourselves and put our name into the pool of the future of Esports,” said Ryan.
The St. John’s faculty and administrators who attended were also able to gain more insights about what students are interested in outside of the classroom and how attending events such as these benefit student overall. “The event highlighted for me, above and beyond the basic concept of esports, that video games can be played in a well-organized competitive environment, with players that cross over cultural and geographic boundaries and compete in a virtual arena where passion, engagement, connectivity, and authenticity are common denominators,” said Ms. Alfonso.
Esports have grown tremendously in the sports industry just within the last 10 years. Events such as Esports Rising allow the younger generation to learn and network with professionals already established in the industry. Speakers were happy to see so many young students eager to learn from them and expand on different esports opportunities.
“They were clearly excited to see a growing interest and passion in this industry from a newer generation and wanted to foster that potential as much as possible,” said Anjeanette.
Female industry professionals such as Naz Aletaha, Global Head of League of Legends Esports, are looked upon by many as role models for young women who would like to advance within the esports business. “Ms. Aletaha was highly informative in answering all the questions we had,” said Aayana. “She is a woman in a prominent position at Riot Games, Inc., which is extremely hard. This was helpful for me as I want to get into this area of business, and it is nice to see another woman there. She told us that the business needs more women and to not get deterred by anyone.”