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Getting Smart Podcast

Sep 18, 2020

Today Tom is speaking with gaming and esports expert, Mike Sepso. Mike is widely considered the godfather of esports and has been at the heart of esports for nearly 20 years.

In 2002, Mike launched Major League Gaming, a professional esports organization. He later sold MLG to game-maker, Activision, in 2015. Last year, Mike launched Vindex to provide infrastructure to the esports industry. And just recently, Vindex acquired Belong Gaming Arenas and plans to open more than 500 Belong locations in hometowns across America.

Right now, about half of America is gaming during the pandemic. It might surprise you to know that gaming is bigger than both music and movies combined. This year, video game revenue will likely top $170 billion.

Though the percentage of gamers that play professionally is small, it is growing. Esports is approximately a $1 billion business itself. Join in today’s conversation with Tom to hear about Mike’s mission to open local arenas across America to grow esports, as well as what he thinks about esports as a career path (and how high schools, colleges, and educators should play the game).


Key Takeaways:

[:10] About today’s episode.

[1:06] Tom welcomes Mike to the podcast.

[1:11] Having been at the heart of esports for nearly 20 years, would Mike say that he’s always been a gamer?

[1:35] The history of when and how esports emerged out of the video game market.

[3:35] The origin story behind Mike’s founding of Major League Gaming.

[7:11] How Mike thinks about the global gaming market today and why he believes gaming has become so big, so fast.

[11:48] The mission behind Mike’s new company, Vindex, and some of the history behind esports.

[18:50] The three-pronged strategic approach they’re taking with Vindex.

[22:52] Mike shares about their exciting acquisition of Belong Gaming Arenas as well as why they wanted to acquire them.

[31:50] Where these gaming arenas will be placed and how big they will be.

[33:40] Is esports a viable career path? And what role can or should high schools and colleges play with regards to esports?

[37:52] How will esports impact communities? Should economic directors be thinking about esports or working it into their plans?

[39:38] How big is the market of esports? Where does Mike see it a couple of years from now?

[41:07] How has esports been positively and negatively impacted by COVID-19? Does it only have growth to look forward to in the coming years?

[46:26] Tom thanks Mike for joining the podcast!


Mentioned in This Episode:

Mike Sepsos LinkedIn

Mike Sepsos Twitter @MSpeso

Major League Gaming


Belong Gaming Arenas

Overwatch League

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