| September 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

Craig Levine

The CEO of ESL North America is a veteran gamer, team owner and league executive who believes e-sports can disrupt the sports-event industry

Craig Levine

As the e-sports landscape continues to evolve, several veteran organizations are leading the industry into new territory. And at the center of that is Craig Levine, CEO of ESL North America, the world’s largest e-sports company. A longtime gamer, Levine in 2002 founded Team 3D, one of the first professional e-sports teams. He also co-founded ESS Agency, an event marketing and technology company. In 2014, ESS was acquired by Turtle Entertainment to expand the North American footprint of ESL, a company whose live events are becoming some of the largest in the industry. In this interview, Levine discusses the state of e-sports, the future of events, and issues to watch in months to come.

For years, the conversation seemed to be if e-sports should be considered sports. Do you feel that we’ve moved on from that?

I think we’ve absolutely overcome and passed that. We used to see it a lot in the early 2000s, when there would be human interest novelty stories—“kids are making money playing games!” I think we’ve graduated and advanced so much further beyond that. There are tens of millions of people watching these events regularly. Thousands of people are packing arenas. All of those things have quelled the discussion.

To read the rest of this Q&A in the digital edition of SportsTravel, please click here.

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