Last night at Nixon Peabody LLP’s offices in Los Angeles, we were delighted to welcome three more esports industry greats into the Esports Insider Hall of Fame (#ESIHOF).
Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez, CEO of OpTic Gaming, Heather ‘SapphiRe’ Garrozo,former Counter-Strike pro, esteemed observer and VP of Marketing for Dignitas and legendary commentator and Director of Creative Development at Twitch, Marcus ‘djWHEAT’ Graham, became the latest to join the prestigious Esports Insider Hall of Fame.
At the luxurious rooftop venue of co-sponsor Nixon Peabody in LA, the three have been awarded their place joining the first three members who were inducted at the inaugural event in 2018; Jason ‘1’ Lake, Michal ‘Carmac’ Blicharz, and Chris Puckett. In attendance were 150 of the most influential people in esports, in what has become one of the most significant esports events of the year.
Partners for the 2019 ESI Hall of Fame included WePlay! Esports USA, GRID, We Are Nations, GINX Esports TV, MVPIndex and Nixon Peabody LLP.
Esports Insider’s Managing Director and Co-founder, Sam Cooke said: “We’re over the moon to be recognising three icons of the esports industry and inducting them in to the Esports Insider Hall of Fame.
“They’ve helped shape, develop and push forward esports and have all really left a lasting impression on the esports landscape.”
Here’s a little more about the latest #ESIHOF members:
Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez
Hector Rodriguez, also known by his gamertag H3CZ, is the CEO and Owner of OpTic Gaming. In esports, he’s changed the world of team and player content and created what can only be described as an esports-influencer factory. H3CZ left his job as an insurance account analyst to take the reigns of OpTic in 2007 – his name is synonymous with OpTic, one of the biggest esports brands. H3CZ changed the rules of engagement for everyone and rallied casual gaming fans to the forefront of esports and into the largest fandom that exists, even still to this day.
Today I was inducted into the @esportsinsider Esports Hall of Fame, it is my honor to accept the award on behalf of everyone who’s impacted my life. From my Teammates, the #GreenWall, and my Family. Special shout out to my Esports Biz Mentors Sunny and Sepso. #ESIHOF pic.twitter.com/0Bh8T1N5wx
— Hector Rodriguez (@OpTicH3CZ) June 11, 2019
He made it easy for the GreenWall to support his teammates and built a once-in-a-generation connection between them. He even had a hand in creating some of esports’ biggest stars, such as Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag and Seth “Scump” Abner.
Heather ‘sapphiRe’ Garrozo
Heather Garrozo is an international Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player and previous women’s world champion, one of the world’s best professional observers – having observed over 50 events including five CS:GO majors.
Nearly 20 years ago, I found Counter-Strike. In my heart, I knew it was something special & committed to introducing others to my beloved game. A player, manager, journalist, observer & marketer; it’s been a rewarding journey. Proud to join @esportsinsider‘s #Esports Hall of Fame pic.twitter.com/pjbVf7kM77
— Heather ‘sapphiRe’ Garozzo (@sapphiReGG) June 11, 2019
She’s also been an esports journalist, and is now currently VP of Marketing for Dignitas. Her contributions to the esports scene and in particular the burgeoning women’s esports scene have been hugely significant.
Marcus ‘djWHEAT’ Graham
Marcus Graham has been in esports since 1999 but was most known for his commentary and content production around Starcraft 2, working on many live events and online shows. Now he is Director of Creative Development at Twitch, bringing streamers and Twitch together in brilliant ways to produce unique content.
Marcus ‘djWHEAT’ Graham said: “I’ve been so humbled to be added to the ESI Hall of Fame. Esports has been at the centre of my life’s work for 20 years, and hopefully, we’ve paved the way for many others to join and make their own contributions to this fantastic industry.”
It’s an honor to receive Hall of Fame recognition for my work towards something I love so deeply. Thank you to everyone who was a part of my journey and @jade519 for letting me chase those crazy Esports dreams. https://t.co/k4gZsZHkJj
— djWHEAT (@djWHEAT) June 11, 2019
The Esports Insider Hall of Fame awards recognise those individuals who have gone the extra mile to help build and legitimise the industry, from team owners to those behind the scenes of tournaments, to analysts, hosts, commentators, journalists and more. Those who are helping to enable players and young hopefuls to now view playing their favourite game as a very real and viable career path.
The next event in the Esports Insider calendar is the ESI Summer Forum on July 9th at Hi-Rez Studios in Brighton. Later in the year, it’s the 2019 edition of our flagship conference ESI London in September over 16-17th, a two-day event at Twickenham Stadium.