Esports in America: Traditional Sports Meets the Virtual Future in New Reality

 

The esports economy is projected to be a $1.5 billion market by 2020. In the same year, GenZ (those born between 1995-2010) will account for 40% of all consumer goods purchases. This generation is unlike any before it; they have never known life without the internet or a smart phone.  With GenZ just now starting to enter the workforce, it is an exciting and opportune time to build a career in this new virtual world of entertainment. The electronic gaming industry is about to take off in a massive way, and in need of youthful talent.

Amish Shah is an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor for startups, and the Founder of ReKTGlobal, an esports Services company bridging traditional sports into the virtual space. Originally from Northern NJ, he now lives in Charlotte, NC where he is also the Founder and Managing Partner of SierraMaya360, an early stage VC with investments in the Drone Racing League, Gameco, Wefunder, Skycatch and many others. Shah is also the Founder of a boutique executive search firm called Millennium Search, created for the high-tech industry with clients from the top companies in Silicon Valley to progressive companies like Fanduel.

How did you first get involved in e-sports?

I remember playing Atari when it first came out (I was 7) and getting yelled at by my parents after 2am to go to sleep! I’ve always had a passion for video games, but never thought we’d be where we are today. It’s amazing to see stadiums and arenas like the Staples Center and Madison Square Garden get sold out for esports tournaments, with players making 6-7 figures in one sitting. You can even get a college scholarship today for playing esports! Sponsors are spending millions trying to advertise to the highly sought after Millennial demographic, and we’re now watching it go mainstream on TV from NBC, ESPN to Turner.

I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines, so I decided to invest. My business ReKTGlobal is the parent company for all things esports, where we have a platform for everything; jobs, university, events, venues, media and more. My vision is that every city and college will have an esports activation, and we want to be in the middle of it all.

Did you formally study coding or anything tech related? Would you recommend doing so to break into the gaming industry?

I never studied coding or anything tech related, but I also went to high school in the 80’s before the internet! I’d advise all teenagers to learn some type of technology; in today’s world those skills are very important. However, the great thing about working in esports is you don’t have to be a coder or have great technical ability. If you’re playing skills are solid, you can get a scholarship playing with over 45 colleges currently participating, and that number will be 100+ soon. In addition, other career opportunities that are hot in esports are broadcasting, video/audio production, content writing and creation, digital media, business development, sales, social media, and lots more for those who are passionate about gaming.

In your opinion, what are some of the most exciting new trends and job opportunities coming about in the next few years in e-sports?

Great question, and one I love answering when I get asked! We are just in the first inning of the esports industry, and it’s exploding with global potential and opportunities. esports is already huge in countries like Korea and China, making its way through Europe, and now the rest of the world. I’m sure everyone by now has seen the Drone Racing League on ESPN, which is coming out with an esports game for everyone (FIFA, Madden, NBA, Street Fighter, etc.) Top games that are franchising from Overwatch by Activision/Blizzard and League of Legends by Riot Games are copying the traditional sports model where they will run the teams like your favorite NFL or NBA team- the future is happening now!

It’s very exciting to see this type of growth in esports, and to follow the traditional sports model with people like the Kraft Family (Patriots) jumping on board. This will create more jobs around digital content, streaming, development, data/analytics, audio/video and more. Just as in traditional sports, you’ll need operators, coaches, analysts, scouts, broadcasters, execs, venue operators, merch operators, advertising/marketing folks and many more! Most people have no idea of all the opportunities available, and are still shocked that colleges are giving scholarships, stadiums are packed, and players are making millions competing. It’s not a dream but a reality today and will be for years to come, so go “Find your Grind” and a lucrative career in esports you love!

To learn more about Amish Shah and his esport companies, visit:

www.rektglobal.com

www.sierramaya360.vc

www.msearchllc.com

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