The pandemic brought a new class of gamers online for the very first time, and the gaming space has never been larger or more diverse. At the same time, while esports saw some viewership gains in the past year, it still had to deal with plenty of hurdles tied to pandemic restrictions on physical events.
At TechCrunch Disrupt, we recently sat down with Evil Geniuses CEO Nicole LaPointe Jameson who helms one of the oldest esports leagues around as one of the youngest CEOs in her class. We chatted about the challenges facing the esports industry to keep pace with a rapidly diversifying audience and the opportunities for building a league that can adjust to those shifts faster than others.
Evil Geniuses (EG) was founded in 1999 and has had a winding journey since. LaPointe Jameson got involved when the Chicago-based firm she worked for, Peak6 Investments, took over EG as part of an Amazon divestment following its acquisition of Twitch, which had previously owned Evil Geniuses. The capital injection came at a time when esports leagues were finally catching the attention of institutional investors who saw big opportunity in the space.
Years later, that potential is still there, but the path toward mainstream embrace has been more circuitous than many had hoped. Hard viewership numbers are hard to come by but signal a subindustry that’s growing more slowly than the overall industry it sits inside. Still, LaPointe Jameson believes the industry has plenty of room left for rising players to innovate and create new opportunities for the whole industry.