Esports Agent Barry Lee from Evolved Talent Agency will be speaking at ESI New York on April 23rd. Joining him for “From ‘basement dwellers’ to global superstars: the ever-changing perception and responsibilities of top esports players” are Greg Laird, CEO of Chaos Esports Club, Kashan Khan, professional Smash player for Team Liquid, Scott Smith, Esports Veteran, and Saira Mueller, Founder of Women of Esports will moderate.
You can find out more about ESI New York and secure your ticket here. We spoke to Lee about why he decided to get involved with ESI New York, the perception of professional players of the years, and players’ unions.
Esports Insider: Why did you decide to speak at #ESINYC?
Barry Lee: I decided to speak at ESI NYC because the other invited speakers all have accomplished careers in esports and I thought it’d be a blast to speak at the event and listen to others speak on their respective panels.
ESI: How prepared are players for the limelight typically before they get involved with your agency?
BL: The younger players are generally not very prepared for the attention that they receive when they become a pro player. Most of these just need time to become acclimated to their new careers, and the veteran players that sign to our agency are already used to the limelight and are definitely more prepared just because they have more experience dealing with the public eye.
“The younger players are generally not very prepared for the attention that they receive when they become a pro player.”
ESI: From your work in the space across various roles and years, do you feel players have adapted well to their changing perception?
BL: I think so. I don’t think the demands placed on players have changed all that much in the past couple of years while I’ve been working in the esports industry. Though there is more attention from the mainstream media, the average player doesn’t receive much of it, so there hasn’t been much to adapt to.
ESI: What do you think is the biggest factor in the change of perception regarding esports in recent years?
BL: I think the biggest factor in the change of perception is the money that’s been flowing in. Before, people didn’t really think much of the scene because they just thought it was a novelty, but as sports teams and their owners started spending money in the space, everyone started to take esports more seriously.
“I think the biggest factor in the change of perception is the money that’s been flowing in”
ESI: What roles do you see players’ unions having, if any, in the industry in the future?
BL: I think player unions will become necessary in the future, but currently, there’s hasn’t been an issue that has unified the players in their respective games to ‘rise up’ and organize so they can fight back against it by unionizing. As more money flows into the industry, players will begin to recognize when orgs begin to cut players out of the revenue streams, so I think it’s inevitable. It’s just a matter of time.