Evolution of the interactive entertainment and media landscape, which includes eSports, is creating an emergent opportunity for a number of vendors outside the space. Firms currently operating in tangential areas, such as sports, media, and technology, are positioned to extend product and services to this new wave of enterprises and individuals.
To illustrate the market opportunity, ‘eSports IQ by Alex Fletcher‘ sat down with Joe Occhipinti, head of business development for the interactive media market at Warren Street Wealth Advisors, a financial services firm based in Tustin, CA. The Q&A is below, followed by Joe’s contact information.
What is your current position and personal background?
Joe: My name is Joe Occhipinti, and I head up business development in the interactive media market for Warren Street Wealth Advisors.
I was a college baseball player and long-time Counter-Strike player, and after I finished my baseball career, I graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in finance. As eSports and professional streamers/YouTubers began to grow, I realized that some of their financial hurdles matched those of friends I had playing professional sports, so I wanted to take my passion for gaming and match it with my love of finance to help young content creators and players grow their success.
Do you foresee the financial prospects of eSports pros improving over the near term?
Joe: I think there is a good possibility that eSports players could become the next superstars in sport entertainment. Obviously, on the financial side we have a long way to go to catch up to the Mike Trouts and LeBron James of the world, but it is on that path.
I feel that the real game changer will be when some headline players receive big personal endorsement deals alongside their team sponsors. That will really be when player income levels will begin to spike.
What type of services does Warren Street offer to those in the world of interactive media & eSports?
Joe: Warren Street is a fee-only RIA that offers full service financial planning and asset management. We do not sell products (mutual funds, insurance products, etc.), this business model aligns our actions with the best interest of the client, and keeps us on the same side of the table. In short, we help individuals manage money, plan for the future, and reduce tax liability.
In your opinion, is consolidation (less leagues, less teams, less players) better or worse for player compensation?
Joe: I think the industry is eventually going to move in this direction. In Counter-Strike, I would really like to see a UEFA Champions league format that allows for the best teams to rise to the top and be compensated financially for their competitive success. Meanwhile, below the Champions league, you have other leagues where teams can rise and fall through the ranks to reach the top, where most of the revenue flow is.
The way DOTA runs seems alright to me with their “season” seeming to build up to and end at The International every year. I don’t follow that competitive scene as closely as CS or League.
I think the best example so far in terms of a system for a game is what Riot has begun to put together for League of Legends; a fully functioning premier league across multiple regions and with a “feeder” league to find the best talent. Their project was an amazing first step in the world of eSports, but there are still numerous things that need to be addressed for the players, organizations, and game developers to fully flourish.
What’s the typical “shelf life” or average career for an interactive media personality, e.g. popular streamer?
Joe: This is a super interesting question because these careers can move in so many different directions. For example, some former pro players have transitioned into very successful Twitch/YouTube careers. There are also those who created content on Twitch and then moved into very successful casting careers for their specific game. Some have been flash in the pan success stories, and we don’t see much of them ever again. I think it really boils down to how well are some of these people building, protecting, and continuing to grow their brands into the future. Success in this space is really driven by how much hard work these people put into themselves, their content, and their individual communities.
Describe the overall market opportunity for the financial services industry in interactive media & eSports?
Joe: The financial services industry will have an opportunity to help some of these players and interactive media talent make proper financial decisions moving forward in their lives. Those who can show value in their firm, understand the gaming community, and navigate the financial troubles that we have come to find in the space will do well, and we hope to be the first to do so.
Favorite video game of all time?
Joe: Holy cow. I’ve played Counter-Strike for 14 years now, so I have to lead with that one. I really liked the Assassin’s Creed series, but my ultimate wish is a new WW2 game like the first Call of Duty. No perks, no attachment nonsense, just a true skill First Person Shooter (FPS).
Joe can be reached, using the following:
About ‘eSports IQ’
The ‘eSports IQ’ is compiled by Alex Fletcher, the founder and president of Entiva Group, LLC, and features insights on the latest emerging trends in eSports. By curating invaluable content from a wide range of information sources you get the leading edge in the business of eSports.
Past eSports IQs:
- Week 23: eSports, sponsorship value and TV
- Week 22: ‘The eSports content value chain’ and more insights
- Week 21: ‘Following the Money in eSports’ and more insights
- Week 20: ‘Poker, eSports and the crossover of gaming entertainment’ and more insights
- Week 19: ‘FC Schalke 04’s eSports play – Pros and Cons’ and more insights
- Week 18: The Business of eSports Match-Fixing
- Week 17: ‘Bud Light jumps on the eSports train’ and more insights
- Week 16: ‘Can sports and eSports play nice?’ and more insights
- Week 15: Economics for eSports player unions still missing
- Week 14: ‘The reality of eSports governance’ and more insights
- Week 13: ‘Is Turner’s ELeague for fans or advertisers?’ and more insights
- Week 12: ‘Understanding celebrity investment in eSports’ and more insights
- Week 11: ‘Audiences vs. Viewership in eSports’ and more insights
- Week 10: What does eSports on TV really need?
- Week 9: ‘Cineplex takes a shot at eSports market’ and more insights
- Week 8: ‘The potential of eSports and gaming as mainstream’ and more insights
- Week 7: ‘Vodafone partners with G2 eSports’ and more insights
- Week 6: ‘MP & Silva has been named the global marketing rights partner of Garena’
- Week 5: ‘ESPN continues investment in collegiate eSports’ and more insights
- Week 4: ‘ESPN eSports must exhibit hyper focus’ and more insights
- Week 3: ‘eSports is growing but has not started scaling yet’ and more insights
- Week 2: ‘Deloitte joins the eSports numbers debate’ and more insights
- Week 1: ‘Sport property continues commitment to eSports’ and more insights
Image source: eslgaming.com, Photographer: Helena Kristiannsonr