Making it in Esports: IGC CEO, Ari Segal On Owning an Esports Team
This article is part of Gamer One’s new Making it in Esports series which interviews top industry team owners to learn more about their journey and to share the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
The following is a recent interview we had with IGC CEO, Ari Segal.
1. What was your journey like that eventually led to owning your own team?
AS: I actually wouldn’t say I “own my own team” – I have an ownership stake, as do other investors, and we work together through our Board of Directors to try and position IGC for success. I started my career on Wall Street, transitioned to traditional sports, and then made a leap over to competitive gaming because I saw a compelling, generational market opportunity combined with a very specific chance to attack that opportunity with people I genuinely liked and respected.
2. What’s an average workday look like for you?
AS: Totally depends on the day. Something I’m focused on now is being more intentional with my time, rather than being pulled in various directions and putting out fires. We’ve spent time investing in and hiring what we think is a great team, acquiring great assets, and building a great organizational culture. Those things collectively should allow me to be more intentional with my time, and therefore hopefully have more impact.
3. What’s the most challenging part about owning your own team?
AS: I come from the traditional sports world – it’s hard enough to manage 1 brand and 1 team and 1 roster of players… at any point in time, we have as many as 5 or more teams competitng! Each of those teams has its own culture, its own challenges, its own opportunities. In traditional sports, there’s a basic cadence to a season, followed by an offseason; in esports, there is always a season, always a major tournament or tentpole event – and rarely an “offseason” for the company. It’s challenging to try and manage our staff so that our people are running sprints and marathons simultaneously and perpetually.
4. What advice would you have for aspiring professional gamers?
AS: The key word is “professional.” Think about yourself as a professional as much as, if not more than as a gamer. Think about the brand you are trying to build, how you work with organizations and partners, how you show up ready to work every day on your craft. Talent can only get you so far – nutrition, physical and mental fitness, attitude, reliability – those things will come to matter more and more over time.
5. What excites you most about the future of the esports industry?
AS: Growth. We are in the first inning, and every macro factor (demographics, technology, media, consumption patterns) is in our favor.