Making it in Esports: SMARACIS eSports CEO, Stefan Weigelhofer 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 Stefan Weigelhofer, CEO of SMARACIS eSports.
1. What was your journey like that eventually led to owning your own team?
SW: Ten years ago I was a semi-professional SC2 player. I also participated in some tournaments. During my active time, I took on all the roles that are available in eSports. I was caster for the ESL, coach for caster and players, organized German tournaments and was even the clan leader of a well-known German clan. Through these diverse activities, I really learned to love eSports and was able to found a professional eSports organization through my contacts a few years later.
2. What’s an average workday look like for you?
SW: My average working day mainly consists of meetings and calls. Usually, I start checking my emails. Contact with our sponsors is also a constant part of my day. This also includes discussions with potential new sponsors and the development of new ideas and projects in order to bring our organization forward. I develop these in close cooperation with our Head of Social Media, our Head of Marketing Russia and our team manager. A very important topic is the constant contact with our team, the individual players and our coach. We talk about upcoming trainings, analyze our games and discuss strategies for upcoming tournaments. At the end of the day, I discuss our next tournaments and scrims with our team manager.
3. What’s the most challenging part about owning your own team?
SW: In my opinion, there are two very big challenges. It is not always easy to explain the advantages of the new eSports for the sponsors. Therefore it is not easy to find sponsors. That is why we are very happy that we have won a very strong partner with Bank Austria, a member of the UniCredit group. The second no less difficult challenge is to have the right team/players.
4. What advice would you have for aspiring professional gamers?
SW: If you have the talent and want to become a professional gamer, work hard on it. You have to train for hours, watch a lot of replays and live for this job. You have to enjoy it, because then you can best develop yourself. It is also always good to ask for help, many managers or professional players can give you tips and help you with your development.
5. What excites you most about the future of the esports industry?
SW: For me, the most exciting thing about eSports is that there is a very dynamic development. New tournaments are constantly being held, new locations are being set up, and many events and projects are being organized. This helps eSports to grow rapidly. It’s also nice to see how eSports connects and touches people.