Esports scene explodes in Pittsburgh


Image from Pittsburgh Knights website.

Bryce Johnson, View Writer

Pittsburgh is a constantly growing city. Not only in population and diversity, but in the job market as well. One of the many new industries to appear has been Esports, which has been growing exponentially. The League of Legends (a popular competitive video game) finals alone brought in 100 million unique viewers. One company that has been growing as well locally is the Pittsburgh Knights: an Esports organization that employees award winning players and teams.

Though the Knight’s growth is making it a topic of conversation in many circles, a lot of young people don’t know how they can get involved in this industry. I got the chance to speak to Will Flanagan, a Community and Online Events Coordinator from the Pittsburgh Knights, to help inform our student base of the opportunities available to them. Before we expand into that, let’s get a basic understanding of what the Esports industry is.

Esports means “Electronic Sports,” which involves people playing video games in tournaments and in online live streams for cash. The industry offers many unique areas to enter—not only as talent or as a player, but also as support staff, as creative team members and so much more.

Photography, Video Production, Web Development, Marketing, Legal, Digital Social Media, and Events

All of these are areas of growth for Esports and open intern positions at the Pittsburgh Knights. Though the main focus of Esports is playing video games, Pittsburgh Knights member Will Flanagan fins that the careers that sprout from this are varied and interesting.

“There is really no such thing as an average day, which is what I love about it,” Flanagan said.

Day-to-day operations in Esports organizations are a lot like those of a new tech start up. These organizations focus a lot on building a good community, and you see that in the actions of the Pittsburgh Knights. It is out of the ordinary for an Esports group to title themselves after their city of operations. However, the Knights have decided to align themselves with the city of champions to great effect.

“We really wanted to be attached to something.We want to have an established brand to connect to our playerbase,” Flanagan said.

But how do you enter such a new industry? With no well-defined career paths for you to follow, many people don’t even know where to start. Will Falanagan elaborates looking for a place to start.

“Look for internships in and around Esports; communications or social media are also a fantastic choice,” Flanagan said. “Find a team or organization that you really like and try to be active in their communities.”

He also recommends the website Hitmarker jobs, which is considered to be the job market for all Esports jobs.

“Keep an eye on individual job postings from different teams,” he said.

While that alone is a fantastic starting point for anyone entering the industry with a skillset already in place, you should also be aware of what skills are necessary and what skills should be focused to improve your viability.

First and foremost, proficiency in whatever office suite you have available is a huge plus. From the Microsoft suite to the free google options. If you are interested in a creative or artistic position, experience working with the adobe suite as well.

Will was able to levy his experience as a competitive debater and his time doing Model UN during his interviews. Any skill or interest you have in which you feel confident can be levied and used to support your career in Esports. An Esports ORG is constantly moving and changing, so you have a chance to flex many different types of skills you have no matter your position.

Like many other tech based companies it’s always important to keep your eyes on the market. It’s constantly growing and changing, if you act fast enough you may find yourself well supported and upwardly mobile as this booming industry grows.