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Takeaways from ESports Next 2023

Just got back from ESports Next in Chicago and there's a lot to unpack (literally and figuratively).

There were three main takeaways from ESports Next:

  1. Realizing just how expansive the esports industry is

  2. Networking is just so much better in person

  3. I pondered whether or not I should start a podcast

When I think of the Esports world, I simply think of the teams, individual players, the facilities, and the sponsors. Esports Next opened my eyes to the greater industry at large. The realization that there were companies who have developed specialties in catering to the needs of esports seemed both obvious and educational.

Like, of course there would be architectural firms who focus only on designing and making esports facilities, but it was fascinating to see how they conceptualized their buildings. Of course there are immigration attorneys who specialize in certain visas to make sure that foreign players can play in the US and that American players can play abroad. Their challenge isn't about understanding immigration law per se, but rather how you qualify an e-sports athlete in the same visa category as a pro basketball player. For more on this, I highly recommend this article from Wildes & Weinberg, PC: Esports & Immigration Law in the United States. I even met a travel agency who specialized in making hotel bookings a breeze for event hosts. There was just so much to learn about the industry, but that's one of the main reasons why I joined the ESports Trade Association.

I also joined to expand my network in the video game industry, so it was a lot of fun finally getting to meet people I had been Zooming with over the past 6 months. I just enjoy trading business cards (or in some cases, scanning business cards), chatting about each other's work, finding common interests (much of which isn't business related), and overall, creating connections with people I would otherwise not have met if not for this conference.

One of my favorite activities was guest hosting on the ESports Next Podcast booth, where I got to interview some amazing guests. Subscribe to the ESTA Youtube to see when those videos get posted!

Actually, this experience made me consider starting a podcast to talk about video games and fundraising. I'd bring on guests from both the gaming world and the nonprofit world to talk about how we can continue to bring organizations together with the gaming community. Is that something you would listen to? Let me know in the comments!

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