Esports Is BIG Business, and The Trade Group is Paving the Way for the Next Generation

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DALLAS – October 25, 2018 – If you ask The Trade Group’s Peter Pham what he enjoys most about working in the esports world, his role as Esports Advisor at Emerson College probably tops the list. Sure, he loves working in business development for The Trade Group’s Gaming and Esports Division, but helping students learn more about esports as a business and get experience working in esports is Peter’s passion.

Based in Boston, Massachusetts with a campus in Los Angeles, California, Emerson College is one of only four schools in the U.S. to offer esports classes to their students. Esports coursework is available through the school’s Department of Communications where students can earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Communications.

“Esports is more than just being good at the game, there’s a whole ecosystem involved. There’s a role for everyone in every discipline. At Emerson, the curriculum is focused on communications and the arts. Students do a lot with visual media arts and they have full production studios and theaters, so they’re really prepared to create content. They just needed more opportunities to produce content in the real world, and I knew TTG could help facilitate those hands-on experiences at esports events,” Peter says.

A desire to give back

As a first-generation immigrant, Peter experienced first hand how the kindness of others – his church community, friends and colleagues he’s met along the way – and their willingness to help can change someone’s life. Knowing what a big difference kindness and a helping hand can make fueled Peter’s desire to give back.

The opportunity to give back to college students was spurred by Peter’s chance meeting with Kevin Mitchell, a representative from Emerson College. The two met at DreamHack Austin 2017 and realized they had a lot in common, like figuring out how to build the esports scene in the northeast. The two kept in touch, when one day that “opportunity” came calling – literally.

As Peter recalls, “Kevin called me up one day to tell me the Emerson students would be at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with TenCent (a majority investor in one of TTG’s clients, Riot Games). I then learned that China was already ahead of the U.S. with esports education, and that TenCent’s involvement here meant that there was an opportunity for The Trade Group to get involved as well.”

Since the MIT x TenCent event, Peter, who leads an experiential esports learning program at Emerson, has been mentoring Emerson students in the craft of producing content at esports events. Along with MIT x TenCent, students have collaborated with TTG on content created at DreamHack events in Denver and Austin, Red Bull Battlegrounds (Boston), Nintendo Holiday Program (Los Angeles and Boston), American Video Game League Finals (Boston), ELEAGUE Boston Major, PAX East 2018 (Boston), Esports Bar Association (Los Angeles), E3 (Los Angeles), Pokemon North America International Championships (Columbus), EVO 2018 (Las Vegas), Pokemon World Championships (Nashville), PAX West (Seattle), Esports Gaming World (Los Angeles), and OP Live (Dallas).

There are more projects planned for TwitchCon and DreamHack Atlanta.

A day in the life of Emerson students with TTG mentors as their guides

Peter mentors the students before, during and after the shows. They come up with a general plan of attack for each event, along with client requests, such as recap videos, interviews, product highlights and general social media.

“During show days, the students are pretty much autonomous with occasional check-ins to make sure they’re on the right track. Sometimes I’ll update them on a good piece of content that they need to capture, other times I have them shadow my colleagues. For the more experienced students looking for a challenge, I’ll assign them directly to a client for a more personal experience. The lucky students get to meet with the TTG photographers, who have been great with critiquing student content, teaching them about how to shoot B2B and bring out the best in TTG builds,” Peter says.

Post-show is where it all comes together. According to Peter, “Sometimes it will take 3, 4, 5 or more cuts until we get it just right, but the result is always something the student can be proud to show the client. The students also walk away with ready-to-use content that helps make them more appealing to future employers.

“I’m really thankful for the community support with this learning initiative. Clients, influencers, unaffiliated brands – everyone wants to help the students succeed, to help the esports community succeed. It’s a good feeling when people recognize your students or engage with their posted content. It’s a great feeling when students message you at 4AM (depending on the coast) excited that they’ve landed an internship in gaming and want you to be one of the first to know.”

When he’s not mentoring students at esports events, Peter also participates in speaking engagements at Emerson.

“We talk about everything esports. Topics vary – from brands, influencers, professional teams, events, predictions, marketing, personal branding, even case studies from the TTG blog. The students get especially excited to hear about projects like The Riftwalk with Riot Games, and some of my other projects with Nintendo. More recently, I was invited to help lead the first pre-collegiate esports curriculum at Emerson College in July (see photo).

“We had so many guest speakers participate in person and digitally. Pro team owners, league organizers, influencers, alumni currently working at Riot Games, everyone was tuning in to help shape the future of esports. It was a humbling experience. I am definitely thankful for such great opportunities at The Trade Group,” Peter explains.

Are you a student interested in learning more about the esports business?

The Trade Group offers various educational programs, internships and mentoring to students throughout the year. Keep an eye on our blog for future announcements or contact us at [email protected]

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