The importance of networking in esports

In an industry such as esports, which is a heady mix of new, wide-ranging, global, and ever changing and expanding, regular networking is essential. 

Should your aim be long-term and sustained success and growth in the space, it’s vital to keep up with market trends, and keep abreast of goings on across this nascent industry. Whilst esports has been around a long time in some form, it’s only fairly recently that it has truly grabbed the attention of mainstream media, major investment groups and more. This has been primarily driven by a combination of the likes of the Overwatch League causing a stir, as well as plenty more major events across League of Legends, CS:GO and Dota 2 regularly packing out large venues and delivering seven figure prize pools.

What everyone wants to know though, especially brands and peripheral companies considering entering, is where is it going next? The question ‘Where will esports be in five years?’ is, understandably, an esports business conference favourite, but the truth is six months from now is fairly impossible to predict.

ESI London (September 18-20th), which is our ninth event and our largest conference yet with in excess of 60 speakers across 18 sessions,  will not seek to answer the question of where esports will be in five years. What it will aim to do is explain esports from the inside, out, and provide a chance for education, and discussion around some of the more prominent topics in esports. One prime example here being the live debate on September 19th; ‘Franchised leagues in esports, yay or nay?’ which will feature Michal ‘Carmac’ Blicharz, VP of Pro Gaming at ESL going head to head with Tomi Kovanen, Business Development and GM of CS:GO at Immortals

Importantly too, it will provide an extended opportunity for networking between those on the outside looking in, as well as key stakeholders from across the industry. As well as the networking breakfasts, breaks and lunches throughout each day, we will have parties, dinners and socials over three evenings with the closing party at none other than the Natural History Museum. 

Build long-term relationships

For those unsure on the need, or value of, such business conferences in a world of LinkedIn, Discord and Skype, we would argue that it is still vital to maintain a personal touch, and if done right, it makes all the difference. 

The old phrase ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ remains relevant in esports as it does elsewhere, and whether we like it or not, it is as important for growth and business opportunities to be personally known, respected and well-regarded across the industry as it is to be an expert on a subject. 

A shot from ESI Birmingham (Courtesy of RAV Photography)

Opportunity beckons 

When attending networking events comes an abundance of opportunities. The first thing to note is networking is not selling and instead it’s more to do with gathering more information about individuals and their own business and goals, before asking questions such as: ‘How can my business help?’.

As Frederic Weil , Business Development, at Fnatic stated on his panel back at ESI Birmingham, the official business conference of ESL One Birmingham, back  in May: “Ask not what esports can do for you, ask what you can do for esports”.

When it comes to esports too, despite the big numbers being thrown around it remains a particularly fresh and vulnerable industry, and without a doubt it is best to treat it as a long term objective and business goal. Those that play their cards right now, on both sides, are likelier to reap the rewards down the line. At certain networking events, the opportunities are plentiful such as finding the right clients, partnerships, speaking and other presentation opportunities, investment, advice, new insight and information and so much more. At ESI London, we’ve the likes of team owners and executives including Jason Lake, CompLexity Gaming CEO, Christian Sorensen, North CEO, Patrik Sattermon, Fnatic Co-Owner, Nicolas Maurer, Team Vitality CEO, Hicham Chahine, NiP CEO, as well as high level executives from the likes of ESL, Starladder, Gfinity, Faceit, and more.  

How can you get involved in some high level esports networking?

We here at Esports Insider have been hosting events of various sizes since early 2017, all with the aim being to connect and educate people across the esports industry, and those outside it with a vested interest. Our upcoming conference will be our most comprehensive yet; and we are proud to be hosting the largest esports business event of the year; ESI London.

Over three days you can meet 14 exhibitors and hear from a packed out agenda with 60+ speakers covering debates, panels and workshops all related to esports in some form, this includes too a focused esports betting track. In short, it is a conference agenda packed to the brim with vast esports know-how and experience. 

This is not one to miss. 

If you’re interested in expanding your contacts in esports then ESI London is the best place to do so. Would-be attendees can currently benefit from a tidy 20% discount by using the code ESIAUG at checkout

Those with any questions about ESI London, those keen on sponsorship opportunities, as well as teams and start-ups interested in available discounts, please reach out via [email protected]