Esports Trade Association Announces EsportsNext 2021 Virtual Conference

A national B2B conference for esports business professionals, EsportsNext 2021, will take place online from March 23 through 24.

Chicago, IL, March 10, 2021 --( The Esports Trade Association (ESTA) today announced the enhanced agenda for the virtual EsportsNext conference on March 23-24. EsportsNext will be the premier networking and educational event for professionals who serve clients in the esports industry.

As the esports industry’s premier B2B conference, the two-day event will feature presentations from top voices in the esports industry about where current business opportunities exist and what the future holds.

“While esports may have once stood for a subset of sports culture, it has grown into a full industry in its own right,” said John Davidson, ESTA Board Chair & CEO of Davidson Learning Company. “It is important that we bring together the growing number of business service providers from across the esports ecosystem to network, share best practices, and challenges so that we can help foster industry growth and build a sense of community.”

During the two days of the conference, there will be networking opportunities, virtual exhibit booths, as well as an Elevator Pitch Competition that gives companies with an innovative idea, product, service, or social enterprise solution a chance to present to a crowd of industry professionals.

Featured conference sessions include:

The Maturity and Evolution of Collegiate Esports - Who is leading this charge and why?

What will be the impact of collegiate investment on the commercial world and how long do we need to wait? Are the HBCUs being left behind and if so, what's the effect? Are university leaders and athletic departments focused on the revenue first? What's really at stake and is an education in esports leading to a job in esports?

Moderator: Kye Browning, Director of Esports, US Sports Camps

Wim Stocks, Head of Partnerships and Commercial, Belong Gaming
Rob Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, CSL Esports
Michael Aguilar, Director of Esports, University of Oklahoma
Alex Rodriguez, Esports Host / Commentator / Producer, Axeltoss

Research Presentation
The Esports Trade Association, in collaboration with global public opinion and data company, YouGov with our sponsor, Verimatrix, has compiled insightful research into esports viewers versus non-esports audiences to understand if they view issues such as integrity and trust differently. This 45-minute discussion will unveil key findings around their data privacy concerns, opinions on sharing login credentials for paid streaming services, the use of ad blockers, and whether it is ethical to download content without paying for it. ESTA members were also polled to gather their opinions and factoring into the presentation. Please join Roger Payne, Key Account Director at YouGov, and Jon Samsel, Global VP of Marketing for Verimatrix, as they guide you through the Esports Attitudes About Privacy, Credential Sharing, and Trust research findings and answer your questions.

Roger Payne, Key Account Director, YouGov
Jon Samsel, VP, Global Marketing, Verimatrix

Esports Teams and Ownership
Why do they make the investment? Teams aren't making money today - so why do ownership groups invest? What's the attraction for esports ownership and when does the investment pay off? Listen in as team owners, players and sponsors discuss the flow of money and how long until they anticipate moving from the red to the black.

Moderator: James O’Hagan, Founder, The Academy of Esports

Kyle Bautista, Chief Operating Officer, Complexity Gaming
Brett Diamond, Chief Operating Officer, Version 1 + Minnesota RØKKR
James O’Connor, President & Founder, Pittsburgh Knights
Zachary Leonsis, Senior VP, Strategic Initiatives & General Manager of Monumental Sports Network

Investment Across Gaming & Esports Panel
Where’s the money and who is behind it? What verticals inside esports are evolving the fastest? Who and what behind the scenes is driving the most interest from the bankers, VC and PE? Why do investors prioritize esports over other industries and what’s the attraction for already successful businesses that want to enter the space?

Moderator: Seven Volpone, Chairman & CEO, Subnation and Founder, Surround Ventures

Wayne Kimmel, Managing Partner, SeventySix Capital
John Spiher, VP of Partnerships, Dignitas
Malte Barth, Founding General Partner, BITKRAFT Ventures

A complete listing of sessions and speakers can be found at

With the growing importance of technology and innovation, our goal is to further educate the industry and the public at large about esports and its potential. The event aims to bring leaders in the esports industry closer together, and help them move forward toward a common goal and mission.

About Esports Trade Association
The Esports Trade Association (ESTA) promotes, protects, and advances the broader interests of the esports community. The organization accomplishes this by providing forward-thinking professional development programs, networking opportunities, relevant industry research, and valuable tools and resources to the membership. ESTA focuses on increasing the economic value of the esports industry by growing the number of participants, sponsors, products, and services, conducting primary and secondary industry research, and executing industry events.

Learn more about ESTA and its mission statement at
Esports Trade Association
Megan Van Petten