Insights and Lessons Learned from 2020 at the Esports Rising Digital Conference on Nov. 19

Even before a global pandemic turned everything upside down, 2020 was set to be a monumental year for the esports industry between the launch of the Call of Duty League, the release of Valorant, and the continued expansion of mobile esports as a global powerhouse.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a lasting impact on every aspect of the industry that will continue to be felt for years, but there is no question that it was still a banner year for esports. Valorant brought with it big shifts in the competitive landscape for women, Dota 2 fans raised $40M USD for a tournament that didn’t happen, and viewership was up across the board.

On Nov. 19, industry leaders, experts and analysts will come together at Sports Business Journal’s Esports Rising conference to break down what happened this year, and discuss what it all means for the future of esports. You’ll hear from the likes of Riot Games, BMW, FaZe Clan, Activision Blizzard, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, and so many more.

Purchase your ticket now, and see below for more information on panels and presenters:

In-Game Advertising and the Impact on Sponsorships

Learn more about the ways in which brands can be activated inside of the gaming spaces where esports competition takes place.


  • Matt Archambault, Head, Esports Partnerships and Business Development, N.A. Riot Games
  • Itamar Benedy, CEO, Anzu.IO

The Importance of Viewership Engagement

Understand the shift in content creation strategy taking place throughout the industry to create greater levels of engagement and higher brand value.


  • Nick Cronin, Co-founder & Chief Digital Officer, Zoomph
  • Jaci Hays, COO, FaZe Clan

Luxury Brands and Esports: Stepping Stone, or Long-Term Play

Many luxury brands have made their way into esports in the last two years. What do they see in the space?


Pia Schörner, Head, BMW Esports

What Has COVID-19 Done to the Franchise Model?

Franchise esports were rocked by the global pandemic eliminating in-person events. How did they adjust in the middle of a season and what does it mean for 2021?


  • Lori Burgess, COO, Beasley Esports
  • Hunter Leigh, Head, Esports, Golden State Warriors
  • Alex Rubens, Senior Vice President, Team Operations, Kroenke Esports

Media Veteran Weighs In on Esports Investment and Plans Going Forward

David Levy recently became the chairman of the advisory board for New York esports organization Andbox. Hear his thoughts on investing in the esports space.


  • David Levy, Chairman, Advisory Board, Andbox  

The Future of Esports Physical Venue Design

In-person esports events will return, and when they do, more and more will take place in dedicated competitive gaming venues. Learn about what the future holds for creating esports-focused competition spaces.


  • John Fazio, Founder, Nerd Street Gamers
  • Brian Mirakian, Senior Principal, Populous
  • Jonathon Oudthone, President, Esports Stadium Arlington

Connecting with Small Passionate Communities

While so much of the focus tends to surround major esports like League of Legends and Overwatch, there are dozens of other thriving competitive titles with passionate fan bases. Learn how to engage with these niche audiences.


  • Alan Bunney, CEO, Panda Global
  • Stephen Ellis, CEO & Co-Founder, Pipeline
  • Nicole LaPointe Jameson, CEO, Evil Geniuses

The Future Role of Collegiate Esports

The COVID-19 pandemic put physical sports on hold and many collegiate programs are looking to esports to help fill the void. How will this affect the future of collegiate esports?


  • Lindsey Darvin, Assistant Professor, Sports Management Dept., State University of New York College at Cortland
  • Dr. Alan Ritacco, Vice President, Academic Affairs, Dean, School of Design, Becker College
  • Wim Stocks, CEO, Collegiate StarLeague
  • Guest Moderator: Dr. Marc Williams, Global Scholar-Practitioner, Florida Memorial University

Mobile Gaming and the Impact on Esports Going Forward

Mobile gaming has already surpassed all other segments of the video game industry in popularity and sales, what does this mean for the future of mobile esports?


  • Patrick Carney, Founder & CEO, Tribe Gaming
  • James Yang, Director, Tencent

Partner Insights – Where is the Money? Latham & Watkins Share Insights on M&A in Europe

Hear from Esports Rising partner Latham & Watkins about the financial side of Europe’s esports industry.


  • Mike Turner, Partner, Latham & Watkins

How to Fix the Structural Challenges of the Esports Industry

2020 saw several important strides made, but like any entertainment industry esports still has a lot of work to do to improve diversity. Hear from industry experts on what steps can be taken now to help esports move forward.