Esports: How to kick off your career in this thriving sector

Esports is coming to the Commonwealth Games this year! 

You heard that right, esports has been selected this month for a pilot at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, billed as the Esports Commonwealth Championships. Led by the Global Esports Federation, the event will have separate branding, medals organisation and management but it highlights the massive impact this $1.1 billion sector has had globally. 

Esports has seen monumental growth over the last decade, gaining popularity and seeing a huge increase in prize funds (60% up from 2020 to 2021). League of Legends, FIFA and DOTA 2 will also appear at the Asian Games this September for the first time, further showcasing how quickly the landscape is changing. 

Further details on featured games, teams and venues at the Commonwealth Games are light at the moment, but be sure that we will bring you more coverage right here. 

With these huge developments in mind, now is a great time to start a journey into a career in esports. This week, we’ve asked Richard Buckley (right), ACC’s esports sector specialist and a well-known and respected esports commentator and presenter to share his best tips on getting started in esports. 

I’m Richard Buckley, the leading English speaking FIFA commentator working across various tournaments and FIFA seasons to drive the growth of the esport. I provide commentary, analysis and content working with the world’s leading media houses, broadcasters and brands including Sky Sports, BT Sport, The BBC, ESPN and EA Sports among other rights holders, including The Premier League, Eredivisie, Ajax, Man City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and The Bundesliga. At ACC, I’m helping to push esports forward at our centres nationwide, engaging with students in a wide range of ways and providing industry knowledge to ensure students and staff experience of esports is as good as possible.

I’ve been involved in esports since early 2017, witnessing the rise of this industry first hand and now is the time to get involved as an endless stream of new avenues and jobs come online in this thriving sector.

Firstly, having a strong social media presence is so important, especially if you want to become a content creator or broadcast talent. Being a creator requires an audience base and the easiest way to build that is through a good following of people that watch and engage with your content or broadcasts. Creating and maintaining that following on social media is pretty simple, requiring consistent, quality content that appears often on user feeds. 

You might think that building a follower base is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, you can find the equipment necessary to start creating content with a very small budget and it might be more sensible to only buy the basics until you know that you’re enjoying what you’re doing. 

Next up, get into esports for the passion, not the money. There is a huge range of jobs in the sector with a great scope of salaries, but passion and authenticity will get you further than focusing on money. Using content creation as an example, at first, you may not make a lot of money. But your goal is to create authentic content that brings people back to your streams and hooks them long-term, building to a successful channel that brings remuneration with it! It’s all about what role you want within the sector. If you don’t want to create content, have a look at job descriptions for the kind of esports career you would like and start learning the skills listed to give you a competitive edge when applying. 

As just discussed, esports isn’t all about streaming and games. If you’re aiming for the business or behind the scenes side, network, network, network. LinkedIn is a really useful tool for this, allowing you to connect to peers and future employers and build a name for yourself by sharing your work to those you respect or would like to work with. There are also esports events throughout the year, in person and online that you can attend, providing another valuable opportunity for networking. Remember, LinkedIn is a professional social media platform. If you’re using it for networking, ensure the content you share and the overall look of your profile reflects how you want to be seen by industry professionals. Now could be the time to get rid of that funny email address you made when you were 13!

Lastly, experience is everything. Going the extra mile can make a huge difference to your future career. If you see new technologies, games, tournaments or other developments in the industry, get on board early and understand them. Become the expert by learning general and more focused skills that will set you apart from other people. Whether you want to create content, manage a team, run a tournament or something else, you are your brand and your brand deserves as much development as possible. 

So there you have it! Richard’s top tips for getting started in esports. If you’re feeling excited about esports and want to build your knowledge with the help of industry professionals like Richard to give you the edge, check out our Level 3 Esports Management course, now accepting applications nationally for September ‘22. 

Richard can be found on most social media platforms @rbuckley98