Odgers Berndtson Launches eSports Practice

February 2, 2017 – Competition is heating up in the sports recruiting space. With the global eSports market set to grow north of $500 million in 2017, executive search firm Odgers Berndtson is jumping in by combining expertise from two of its existing practices: sports and gaming. The search team, based out of the firm’s London office, will operate globally and have the support of the Odgers Berndtson international network, with a particular focus on the Asian and U.S. markets.

The global eSports sector total audience last year was 226 million people. eSports takes the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players. The most common video game genres associated with eSports are real-time strategy, fighting, first-person shooter, and multiplayer online battle arena. Tournaments provide live broadcasts of the competition, and prize money and salaries to competitors.

The sports practice at Odgers has over a decade of experience working with clients such as the FA, NFL, NBA, UFC, WWE, NRL, Bundesliga and Premier League. Likewise, its gaming practice is an established player in recruiting senior executive level positions in video and mobile gaming.

As the eSports sector matures, Odgers’ plans to network across broad geographies and markets to assist leagues, teams, sponsors and games publishers to access talent that will allow them to take advantage of the increasing awareness of global eSports.

Head to Head Recruiting Rivalries Heating Up 

An explosive new recruiting mandate has been emerging globally for executive search consultants keen on expanding beyond their sports and entertainment practice areas: finding leaders for eSports organizations. It is the latest directive to be placed in the lap of executive recruiters by global outfits eager to stay ahead of their rivals and, more importantly, to stay ahead of the rivals that are just emerging on the scene. Recruiters are just beginning to take notice to this emerging hot sector, but already there are signs of competition for the lucrative search work that is starting to surface ….. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.

Prodigy Sports Launches eSports Recruiting Practice
Prodigy Sports, a nationwide leader in sports recruiting, was one of the first search firms out of the chute offering a dedicated eSports recruiting practice. The need, said founder and CEO Scott Carmichael, is being driven by existing mainstream sports business clients who have been acquiring or partnering with eSports properties.

“I am delighted that Odgers’ structure and scale enable us to provide a comprehensive search solution for the global eSports community,” said Andrew Bulloss, who heads up the firm’s global gaming practice. “As this sector matures, the need for senior talent from a wide range of backgrounds will be evident and we are very well placed to support teams, leagues and sponsors in securing the very best leadership profiles. We look forward to seeing how this nascent industry transforms in the coming years and hope to play a part in its growth.”

“The growth of eSports is simply astonishing and is a sector in which we feel we already have significant knowledge and expertise,” said Simon Cummins, an Odgers sports practice partner. This will complement our existing offering and will, without a doubt, contribute to our continued growth.”

Expansion Wave

Odgers Berndtson has recently enjoyed a wave of growth in recent months.

In December, it appointed Justin McLennan as managing partner for its Hong Kong office. Mr. McLennan has worked in executive search for over two decades in the Asia Pacific region, focusing on financial services. He has lived and worked in Hong Kong since 1997. Previously, he served as managing director of financial services recruiting boutique Pelham in Hong Kong. He is considered one of the top recruiters in Hong Kong having built several leading equities businesses for investment banks, boutiques and hedge funds, working for a handful of clients and representing their best interests in the Asia region.

The firm also expanded its technology practice in the U.S. with the addition of two new executive search specialists, Kathryn Ullrich and Rod Keller. Based in Silicon Valley, Ms. Ullrich focuses on senior executive searches for major corporations and venture-capital-backed companies in software, systems and services. She previously served as a principal with Heidrick & Struggles, where she led C-suite and VP level searches for technology, software and consulting companies. Located in Austin, Mr. Keller recruits professionals for private equity and venture capital firms in addition to recruiting senior level executives and directors for their portfolio companies.He was most recently a partner at Allen Austin.

In October, Odgers launched a higher education practice in the U.S. and strengthened its life sciences and healthcare practices. In the process, the firm added four executive search industry specialists — Nick Brill, Allen Reed, Jennifer McDonough and Ora Smith. “Clients entrust us to recruit top talent eager to tackle business challenges unique to their transforming industries,” said Mr. Potter. “Our newest search specialists are authorities in their industries who are ready to help clients in pursuit of executives with a proven track record of success.”

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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