The Rise of Esports with Mainline CEO Chris Buckner - 7investing
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The Rise of Esports with Mainline CEO Chris Buckner

October 7, 2021 – By Simon Erickson

Esports is quite rapidly taking the entire world by storm.

Nearly half a billion people now tune in to watch competitive tournaments between the most talented global teams. Popular games like Riot Games’ League of Legends or Activision Blizzard’s (Nasdaq: ATVI) Overwatch are attracting live audiences in numbers that rival the Super Bowl. And because most of these tournaments are broadcast digitally, there’s a flood of data available for advertisers to digest about their audience’s demographics and interests.

So how should investors play this massive and developing trend? Are there game developers who are banking on the popularity of their best-selling titles? Are there broadcasting platforms who are winning the lion’s share of advertising? Are there progressive companies who are tuned-in and placing the right bets on sponsorship?

To help us answer these questions and more, we’ve brought in an Esports expert. Chris Buckner is the founder and CEO of Mainline.GG, who is unlocking the value of Esports for everyone. His company set up tournaments for companies and universities — including the University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Louisiana State University — helping them manage, monetize, and market their Esports programs.

In an exclusive interview, Chris spoke with 7investing CEO Simon Erickson about why Esports is such an important developing trend. He described what games are the most popular for tournaments and which developers are at the forefront of the movement. He also explained how the Esports gaming industry makes money and why certain broadcast platforms and advertisers are uniquely positioned to benefit.

Chris also describes what Esports tournament events are really like, as well as what China’s recent regulations on gaming could mean for the industry.

Publicly-traded companies mentioned in this interview include Activision Blizzard, Amazon, Audi, and Chipotle. 7investing’s advisors or its guests may have positions in the companies mentioned.

Timestamps

00:00 – Overview and Definition of Esports

02:07 – Where is the money being made in the gaming industry?

05:39 – What games and game developers are most popular with Esports?

12:55  – University sponsorships and scholarships

18:36 – Demographics of Esports’ audience

20:39 – What role do broadcasters and streaming personalities play?

22:39 – What do you think about China limiting anyone under 18 to three hours of gaming per week?

29:02 – What specific things should investors be watching?

Transcript

Simon Erickson  00:00

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s edition of the 7investing Podcast. I’m 7investing founder and CEO Simon Erickson and today we’re going to be talking about eSports. We have seen a transition of gaming from upfront console game sales to online and on mobile devices and a further movement today to eSports. And I’m really excited to welcome my guest today. Chris Buckner is the co-founder and CEO of Mainline here in Houston, Texas. Joining me on the 7investing Podcast this afternoon. Hey, thanks for being here, Chris.

Chris Buckner  00:28

Hey, thanks for having me. Good to see you again. I’m glad I could join today.

Simon Erickson  00:32

Chris, I always like chatting with you, you’re really up front and center about what’s going on eSports out there. But I’ve got to start at the 10,000 foot level. Because I think that there’s a little bit of a misconception of the difference between just online gaming, and then what we know as eSports, can you kind of start me off by defining what eSports means to you?

Chris Buckner  00:50

Yeah, sure. So it’s funny we do a lot of panels and such. And the first thing I always start off with when we’re doing a panel about kind of more of like an intro to eSports is, the difference between gaming and eSports. And gaming is $160 billion industry right now. It’s insanely huge. And just like you talked about buying consoles, buying games, buying skins in the game, microtransactions. Some of these games now have subscription models to them. That’s the gaming industry. It’s more about like playing either individually or with your friends.

Simon Erickson  02:07

Yeah, let’s talk a little bit more about where the money is coming from you mentioned that gaming is $160 billion industry. I know that’s kind of transitioned from upfront game sales to kind of what we’ve seen is in game transactions, right? It’s usage based, buying skins, you’re buying things within the games itself. You’ve mentioned before that a lot of eSports, this billion dollar industry today, is from sponsorships or advertising. Is that how you kind of envision this industry progressing? Or is there gonna be more elements, are there gonna be more in game transactions like the rest of the gaming industry.

Chris Buckner  02:37

So that’s great. So, I don’t think there’s going to be much more in game. Right now 60% of the eSports market is driven by sponsorship and advertising. So roughly $641 million of that billion dollars is coming from endemic and non endemic brands. And the really exciting thing for somebody that’s in the space, like Mainline, is the fact that the non endemic brands. Okay, so endemic is your keyboards, your mice, your headphones or computers. That’s endemic brands like Dell (NYSE: DELL) with Alienware, HP (NYSE: HPQ) Omen, Logitech (NASDAQ: LOGI) those are endemic.

But once non endemic brands started getting into the space, and I’m sure people have seen things like Chipotle (NYSE: CMG) is huge in the space, obviously Mountain Dew, Coca Cola (NASDAQ: COKE), Audi, when those brands started getting involved, I mean, a huge uptick started happening because they were supporting this industry.

But, in the future right now, the second highest revenue stream, if you will, in the eSports space is the media rights like these are important when you start talking about things like linear broadcasts, even OTT, over the top streaming services, the media rights that are involved there from say, a publisher giving them rights, or even the media rights of maybe a multimedia right holder, a value added reseller. And then after that you’ve got publisher fees because the publishers own the game titles. It would be like if the NFL somehow owned the entire game of football, that’s how the eSports industry works.

Riot owns all of League of Legends. I mean, they have ultimate control, same thing Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) with Overwatch, that’s how this stuff operates. So sometimes in the [INAUDIBLE] share with the publishers, and then you have things like that are growing rapidly, with the team’s merchandise and ticket sales is really big. For instance, I want to say TSM or 100 Thieves, they make a lot of money as an organization from their merchandise sales, in fact, one of those and I don’t want to misappropriate, but one of them actually makes more from their merchandise sales than they do from content or even winning their tournaments, if I’m not mistaken. So that’s coming. And then you’ve got obviously the streaming stuff in the future. But I think you’re gonna see media rights kind of going up but sponsorship and advertising is going to continue to drive this for as long as I can possibly see into the future.

Simon Erickson  05:06

That is so insightful, I might watch and rewatch that a couple more times just to get my head around everything that you just said. But let’s double click on the publishers that you just mentioned, Activision and Riot Games kind of having ultimate control over Overwatch over League of Legends. A lot of this is based on franchises right? A lot of these games were the same ones we were chatting about a couple of years ago when we last spoke. Do you think that eSports is built around those franchises where they just keep getting better and better and more and more players play them? Or do gamers wants something brand new that’s kind of hot and fresh?

Chris Buckner  05:39

That’s a great question, because there are very two clear sides to that story. So when you look at what Riot has been able to do with League of Legends, League of Legends is the largest eSport in the world. There’s not really much of a question behind that. And they have been around oddly enough one of the longest of any of the major titles that you can even name out there. And what they’ve done is through their patches they’ve been able to keep the game fresh and they constantly are trying to improve the experience, improve the gameplay like you just talked about, almost like having a fresh experience but with a recognized and already established game title. They’ve done an amazing job.

Blizzard with Overwatch they saw a dip in Overwatch 2 is the next big discussion point. And they saw a little bit of a dip and now their viewership is going back up they’re kind of like in that middle space. But then you have these flash in the pan titles that are going to be coming and going for forever. It’s kind of like, it’s just cyclical with some game titles, but you still do have like your monsters in the space right you’ve got like your Call of Duty’s, your obviously Overwatch League of Legends, Rocket League is, we tend to play in the college space Rocket League is really exciting for the college space because it’s not a first person shooter. And if you’re if you’re talking about tying your tournaments to the brands of the schools some of them may not want a first person shooter. And don’t get me wrong Overwatch and League of Legends are still the biggest probably in the college space from what’s called a chapter level.

But yeah there’s still like the ones that everybody knows but Fortnight even though most people don’t consider it an eSport because it doesn’t have like custom observers and there’s a lot of different reasons that they want it to be more of like that game because they care about the microtransactions. Whereas some of these other groups really like the eSports side of it. I think you’re going to see almost a 50/50 deal where 50% of these long term game titles that are putting out new patches, they’re going to have staying power. And then you’re gonna see new titles that come and make a splash and some of those will definitely stick around some of them may go by the wayside a little bit quicker.

There’s one right now and I’m totally going to give them a shout out because I am friends with their founder and he’s just really good dude, but Splitgate is a super interesting title right now that’s looking to make an eSports push, which is a mixture of Halo and Portal. But that’s a title that is starting to see like really significant hockey stick growth in terms of concurrent playership. So they’re just getting into the eSports space pretty seriously. So that’s a title of the watch to see like, let’s see if they have some staying power for a long time.

But yeah, so I don’t have the answer, other than I have the answer that there are going to be the ones that stick around and then there are going to be the ones that kind of come and go. So it’s going to be kind of fun to watch. The good news for my company is we’re agnostic, game, title, the format none of that matters we can handle it all. So I get to sit and watch and be like great, the more the better so hopefully that answered your question all right.

Simon Erickson  09:01

Yeah, just one thing I wanted to double click on is, is there lock in for the games themselves with the players. You mentioned Halo, you mentioned Overwatch, Fortnight in there too. Those are all first person shooter games. Can somebody who’s playing one of those games easily adapt to playing another game? Or are they kind of locked in and that’s the one that they go to all the time?

Chris Buckner  09:18

Well … [INAUDIBLE] … League of Legends is like a MOBA, a MOBA is a certain type of game title where it has very, very, very specific strategies that don’t really kind of carry over to other game titles. Whereas just like you talked about those first person shooters, whether you’re doing Counter Strike, Call of Duty, Overwatch even, all of these first person shooters, I would say that there is some carryover.

There definitely are pro players that can play multiple titles, like PUBG was one of those game titles a couple years ago right when it was coming out of beta a lot of players from things like Counter Strike, Call of Duty, even Rainbow Six were kind of finding their way into it because it had a natural feel similar what they had. Because they’re using, by the way a lot of these we’re using, Unreal Engine as the mechanism, so adheres to the same like gravity restrictions it adheres to the same kind of damage. I’m doing a terrible job of kind of explaining that, but there’s definitely carryover from my limited expertise in that space. I’m not a gamer, except for I am fantastic and NCAA football which isn’t around anymore.

But there is some carryover specifically on the first person shooter. I think that some of those other game titles obviously it’s much much harder. I mean, we always say that League of Legends is the most endemic eSports game title because the level of effort needed to become a pro player with League of Legends is monster. It’s also why it leads to a great experience for viewers, because it’s the cream of the crop the best you’ve ever seen. People that play the game go oh my god, that person is so much better than me. Right? It’s just like NFL players versus me playing in the backyard. So I think there is some carryover obviously first person shooters probably being the strongest. And then and then some of those other game titles that have very specific strategy points are a little bit different.

Simon Erickson  11:16

Yeah, and are there any of the publishers that you think are really doing a good job and in focusing on the eSports opportunity? I know Activision is taking it very seriously. EA has got a lot of sports games. I mean, are there any publishers that you think are really knocking it out of the park with eSports?

Chris Buckner  11:29

Well, without question I would say Riot has the eSports is one of their most, I mean don’t get me wrong they they do very well outside of eSports, but they have a phenomenal eSports presence. I think you can tell Blizzard is, with their franchise, the the backing that they received from franchise owners, the franchise with Robert Kraft at the beginning. They are very serious about eSports. And then I can tell you this, EA with FIFA and with Madden, they’re taking it pretty serious too with things like eMLS and then what Madden is doing, not just in the pros space if you will, but Madden’s even getting into the college space. We ran the Madden collegiate league officially with EA last fall. So they’re doing a great job. I think Psyonix is doing a great job with Rocket League, which is, I know Psyonix is technically owned by Epic, but a lot of this is still pretty new.

Again since I’m in the collegiate space it’s very very new. I’m trying to think of who else is just doing. I mean Call of Duty has always had a great presence there as well. Halo is getting ready to make a pretty big push into the eSports space. But I would definitely say you get your Riots and your Blizzards like all the way at the absolute top of like putting most of their, not most of their attention, but significant attention to their eSports.

Simon Erickson  12:55

Let’s talk about collegiate level now Chris. You went to A&M. I went to UT. Both big schools here in Texas, both big football programs. We got pretty excited about the football games on the weekends out there. But I know that you all are now partnering with Mainline with a lot of universities, right, including UT including A&M, including LSU. There’s a quite a list. Tell me about how universities are embracing eSports, scholarships and the things that they’re building out in this.

Chris Buckner  13:21

Yeah. So it’s really, really exciting because we started in the college space, that was our spearhead right was college. Now we’re moving into working with major brands, and we’re also working with the high schools in the space as well. But I’m in the college space specifically. A lot of these colleges, 300 colleges now offer scholarships for eSports. Like, that’s insanity. And it’s only growing really, really quickly. I mean, just a year ago was only 170, I believe that offered scholarships. And you look at Michigan, putting in a quarter million dollars through a donor into their eSports programs. You look at Ohio State that has invested over $10 million into their facilities for eSports in their programs.

I think what we’re seeing is the very, very early stages of these universities using their brand to recognize collegiate eSports as a sport, it’s still a challenge because right now you can name five schools and all [INAUDIBLE] sports in a different area. So student activities, rec, athletics, communications, like they just all have been operating on their own through different organizations on campus. So it’s a challenge because Mainline just wants to be a back end software. Literally we don’t care if anybody knows our name for the rest of eternity because we just want to be the the highway that everybody’s using.

And the publishers really, really like the individual schools, running tournaments, even if they’re at a community level and not a varsity level, because that brings attention, but it also helps grow their club programs at the school.

So, I think we’re right on the very beginning. I mean, we’re trying to lead the charge on this. It’s difficult, but you work with these brands, the IP march of the school, some of them wanting to run it through athletics, some of them wanting to run it through something else. And now we just want to be there to support so it is exciting when you get to see for the first time ever, the biggest brands in all of college, putting their brand next to like an eSports tournament. We’ve got a ways to go, but I think we’re right at the very beginning of that hockey stick as well.

Simon Erickson  15:33

Now my Longhorns are following your Aggies into the SEC. At least that’s for football games I’ll be watching. Is it still conference base for eSports tournaments? You still have SEC and Big 12 or is it just everybody can play against everybody.

Chris Buckner  15:44

I mean, so we’ve been fortunate enough to run Big 12’s Madden tournament last summer, we’ve run A-10, MAC. I think we’ve run something like 11 conferences. The truth is, there are multiple leagues in the college space that kind of operate on their own. What’s happening right now is the college space is kind of like the PGA right, the PGA Tour. You’ve got the PGA Tour, and then you go play in the Masters and then you go play in The Players Championship and then you go play. And so there’s not like a consolidation event yet where that’s happened.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think that that’s what needs to happen. I’ll really quickly give you a perfect example of a challenge plus an opportunity is League of Legends is an amazing collegiate eSport. I believe they have over 430 chapters right now. Well, they obviously have their open qualifiers, if you will, at their chapters, so the chapters determine who their representative is going to be as like their varsity team. However, through the conferences that can be used as a closed qualifier for a national champion.

So let’s just take Overwatch, the schools would determine out of their their 400 chapters who the varsity team would be. That varsity team then plays in conference championships, the conferences have their winners, and then the winners move on to play each other in the finals, for instance. And so I can see that playing out. Now remember, the conferences would get their chance to have their brands associated with it. But the national championship would be like the Overwatch national championship just like there’s a Masters. The League of Legends national championship, just like the Players Championship or whatever it might be.

So in a dream world, it would be great if it just operated like that. But right now some people like CSL for instance, CSL largest collegiate league, they just partnered with NACE the largest governing body. I don’t think they like to be called that right now, but they are kind of like a governance group. They partnered together, shamelessly I’ll say they they’re doing it on Mainline software. But what they’re doing is they’re running eight different game titles. And then they run open qualifiers, close qualifiers and championships on their own in the space. And that’s very common.

So I think everybody is kind of looking to see like, how is this going to go? Is it going to run through athletics is it going to run independently, is going to run through student activities, is going to run through like STEM or, more education based. We’re still in those early stages of where it really is going to live. But we certainly have had experience more on the athletic side with conferences with the individual schools, the rights holders, those types of things have been the way that we got in so quickly to the market.

Simon Erickson  18:36

One of the things we spoke about last time we chatted was the average baseball fan is around 60 years old. What do we know about the demographics of the audience? Who’s watching eSports? I assume it’s younger than that.

Chris Buckner  18:48

Yeah. So it’s kind of funny we we’ve been doing a bunch of research and I’ll give them a shout out AGC partners, which is a guy named Nate Hennings has helped me come up with some of this research. But it’s shocking, I mean, I’ll just give you a few stats right now. I just haven’t have it on my computer. But then the average viewers age is almost a decade younger than its closest neighbor, which is the NBA. So right now the average age of an eSports viewer is 32 years old, whereas the NBA is 43, and baseball is [INAUDIBLE]

Simon Erickson  19:23

We lost you just for a second.

Chris Buckner  19:37

I think it’s probably me, but 32 average age for eSports viewers in eSports. NBA 43 Baseball is 59 and you start to see why sponsorship is such a big part of eSports. That is an extremely attractively young demographic of affluent game players. And this is one big stat that was shocking, 78% of regular eSports viewers are under the age of 36. So, I mean, that’s just a crazy attractive demographic when it comes to sponsors and advertisers for sure.

Simon Erickson  20:11

And let’s talk about the broadcasting element of this too, right? Like we’ve seen Ninja become kind of one of the biggest live streamers out there. He used to I believe, or used to be on Twitch I think as the publisher for for broadcasting. But then he switched over to Microsoft and signed a contract with them to stream there as well. He is not only playing the games at the same time that he is broadcasting what he’s doing to teach people about what he’s doing during the games. It’s like LeBron James would be talking directly to the audience as he’s driving to the hoop for a basketball game.

Chris Buckner  20:39

Yeah, so there’s a difference. There’s competitive gamers, and then there’s streamers. So don’t get me wrong. Ninja is a phenomenal competitor. He’s one of the best for, Fortnight for instance, is his a big one. But he is in it for his presence, like the streaming side of things, building a brand, he’s all about that. And so he was on Twitch, and then he got a massive contract with what was called Mixer, which was Microsoft’s OTT. And so there’s, there’s a separation of streamers who are building a brand, they’re a personality? Sure, do they do competitive eSports events? Absolutely.

But I would say, I would almost say most of them probably aren’t the best players in the entire world. They’re just really, really engaging, and they happen to be among the best players in the world, they’re just not the best player in the world, for instance. So it’s just kind of, it’s interesting, because you can be a pretty good player. But if you have a great personality, you can make a lot of money streaming and I mean a lot of money.

Whereas you go look at these pro sports or eSports organizations, they don’t even make most of their money from their prize pools because they’re creating content. And then they’re selling that content to sponsors and advertisers and that kind of stuff. So it’s just it’s pretty interesting the differences in how that pro eSport space works between streamers and active competitors.

Simon Erickson  22:08

And I think that answer my question, Chris, is that you’ve got streamers, which are more of the personal brands people are wanting to sponsor because they align with Ninja or wherever the personality is. Versus eSports, which is more of the competition, the tournament, the bigger picture of what’s going on, and that might attract a different type of sponsors. Is that a fair statement?

Chris Buckner  22:23

Yeah, I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there are definitely some professional players out there that have an amazing presence and brand. So I’m sure there’s plenty of them out there. I just know that a lot of times it’s a little bit more separated brand, and then competition.

Simon Erickson  22:39

Perfect. Yeah, that makes sense. I wanted to talk a little bit about China, China has now instituted a policy that its youth, and China’s a huge market for gaming, but now they’re saying only three hours a week for video games during the week. Is this going to impact the gaming industry? And is this going to impact the eSports competitiveness?

Chris Buckner  22:58

Yeah, I think that it’s a temporary deal that they’re doing right now. I guess you can call it rumor, it’s been reported, but I still think it’s kind of a rumor. The the impact behind that is, there is such a gaming presence in China, that is actually hurting their traditional sports growth. A lot more younger individuals are actually doing gaming because if you think about it, you can make money earlier than you ever could in pro sports, you have probably a longer shelf life in terms of not getting injured, you can still get injured in eSports, don’t get me wrong. You get these huge sponsorships, you can retire by 25. There’s a lot of things in eSports that are extremely attractive. And in China, it’s just such a big part of their culture.

Really, Asia in general, has a an unbelievable presence. But I think it is a temporary deal that they’re doing over there to try to just kind of like, take a step back and see like, Okay, how is this affecting? I have some conspiracy theory deals behind that, why they did it, but it’s certainly, I mean, look what it did to Tencent’s (OTCMKTS: TCEHY) stock prices over there when it was announced. Tencent is probably the biggest player in the entire eSports space when it comes to their ownership of things like [INAUDIBLE]. I think it’s a temporary deal. I think that they really are trying to figure out like, how it’s affecting their traditional sports. So I can see that bouncing back. I think they’ll still have some restrictions. It’s certainly affecting the market.

Do I see it coming to the United States anytime soon? No, but let’s be honest, US gaming is still a couple of years behind. Asia, Southern Asia as well. Their gaming is quite a bit ahead. Like Korea, holy, South Korea, their gaming is unbelievable, right? And some people say they make the joke that US is five years behind them. I don’t think it’s that drastic. So ya it’s affecting the market. I just think it’s a temporary deal.

Simon Erickson  25:04

Chris, I got to off the wall questions for you while I have a chance to chat with you here. I always like to ask some fun ones as well. And the first one is, we talked about South Korea, we talked about China, we talked about US. Do we ever see an eSport recognized as an Olympic event? And if yes, what year does that happen?

Chris Buckner  25:20

Yeah, so in April of this year, it was almost officially announced that 2024 would be the first year that eSports were in the Olympics. However, just a couple months ago, they came back out and said that it’s probably going to be 2028. And the reason behind that is they’re still trying to figure out, the impacts of restrictions to younger demographics, the age range of these eSports athletes. I mean, think about it. You saw in the Olympics this year a 13 year old medalled in skateboarding. So that’s great news for eSports  because you can make the argument that some of the best athletes in the entire world at certain game titles are in the 15 year old range.

So they’re doing things like how are you going to qualify? Unfortunately, just like traditional sports, with maybe steroids in eSports, there is cheating. So what you have to do is you have to make sure that you have any type of qualifying events have to be held on site with the same exact hardware, software, bla bla bla bla. So that everybody knows exactly what’s being used where, so there’s no cheating during the qualifications process. So, I think they’re still figuring stuff out, they did say that there is a chance that could be in 2024. But I think everybody kind of is like, nah, it’s probably gonna be 2028. But I mean, hey, I’ll take it 2028 is far away, but at least it becoming an eSports, talk about validation, right? Becoming an Olympic sport.

Simon Erickson  26:43

Absolutely. And, Chris, I know you spoke at an eSports summit earlier this morning, you were giving a presentation on unlocking the value of eSports. My second off the wall question for you is, Can you describe what a watch party is like, when you’re watching eSports as part of a group?

Chris Buckner  26:55

Yeah, weirdly enough, we got our start, in 2017, when we launched Mainline by launching the first ever watch party for the Overwatch League, when it launched, the Houston team which the Outlaws. We launched a watch party at an empty warehouse next to our offices, here in Houston. And when I say an empty warehouse, I mean a abandon, like scary, might get tetanus at any turn, warehouse, and we went and got a movie theater size screen, we went and got professional AV. And then we prayed that we could get 75 people there. I mean, we were praying. And we ended up getting over 700 people showing up for this event.

And if you type in Houston Outlaws watch party, I think it’s the first image, it looks insane. It looks like an actual, like at a college football game students section. It was insanity. And what’s funny is, Overwatch was fairly new to me at the time, I had never played it myself. And to watch these people going nuts, I’m watching the screen, and I’m going, I don’t know 100% what’s happening here, so I need to learn pretty darn quickly. But they were cheering, and we did have free beer. And that helps a little bit for this. But it was it was wild, it was just like sitting in the student section of like a college basketball or a college football game. It was nuts.

Simon Erickson  28:21

And we know that you’re based in Houston. But for anyone in our audience who wants to learn more about Mainline where can they find out more about your company?

Chris Buckner 28:27

Yeah, matter of fact, we just because of the summit, we launched our new version of our website today, it’s just https://mainline.gg/ you can go on there. And obviously contact forums if you want to learn more information. If you need some help supporting eSports through your brand. We’re happy to help and if anybody wants to reach out to me directly, it’s cbuckner@mainline.gg. They can reach me there.

Simon Erickson  28:49

Absolutely. And my last question is, our audience here is mostly individual investors at 7investing. You live this industry every single day. I mean, what do you think are a couple things that we should be watching to kind of keep up with how eSports is evolving out there?

Chris Buckner  29:02

Well, this is going to sound like I’m being selfish and self serving, but I’m not. A consolidation event in amateur eSports is coming. I mean, it is, because what’s happening as people are starting to see, oh wow, once you start having some continuity in the space, there’s there’s real opportunity [INAUDIBLE]. Really, really quick growth on top of the quick growth that we have. So I think the amateur eSports space, and I call it amateur, I get beat up about that. I mean everything below professional so, semi-pro, collegiate, high school, middle school, this whole path to pro model that could be happening. The ability for all the data to be aggregated in one location. I think that’s something to keep an eye on.

Another thing these OTT deals with YouTube gaming, Facebook gaming, obviously Twitch. Stats, so right now, a lot of these publishers don’t have API’s for automated stat sharing. So there’s there’s companies out there that do scraping, which some people can say, well, it’s frowned upon, because that’s not technically the publishers API. But but there’s some interesting stuff.

And then another really big one that we’re working on right now is just the marketing on top of this. So in order for Mainline to have stayed Switzerland along the way, we did not offer marketing in our, in our kind of like offering. Because we’re partnered with everybody, we don’t want one partner, seeing that one event went really well over here and going, Hey, how come you didn’t market our event better, or whatever it might be. But marketing right now is actually a really exciting industry in the eSports space.

And then from an individual perspective, I tell every person that wants to get into eSports young or old, get into business development for eSports and you can make a ridiculous amount of money. Especially if you have experience with big brands, non endemic, big brands. I mean, some of the most ridiculous salaries you’ve seen in your life are in the marketing sales, business development space in eSports. Because if you’re competent to talk to non endemic brands, and you can sell the story, I mean, they’re looking for placement in eSports. So hopefully I answered that one. Okay, as well.

Simon Erickson  31:20

Yeah, absolutely. consolidation and continuity in the amateur eSports leagues, I wrote down aggregation of data. And a lot of the statistics and other things really an opening opportunities for marketing and business development for anybody wants to follow the industry.

Chris Buckner  31:33

That’s right. Yeah, you bet.

Simon Erickson  31:35

Well, great. Well, thanks very much, Chris Buckner. Chris, I really appreciate your time. Thanks for being with our 7investing Podcast this afternoon.

Chris Buckner  31:40

Absolutely. Thanks for having me. And I look forward to doing this again and catching up.

Simon Erickson  31:44

Absolutely. And for anyone else who wants to learn more about Mainline you can check out their website https://mainline.gg/ based down here in Houston, Texas. Really exciting opportunity as eSports continues to evolve. We appreciate you tuning in to this episode of our 7investing Podcast. Once again, we are here to empower you to invest in your future. We are 7investing!

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