KONRAD WASIELA, CEO OF ESE ENTERTAINMENT - INTERVIEW WITH TOP 100 INNOVATION CEO
KONRAD WASIELA, CEO OF ESE ENTERTAINMENT HAS BEEN SELECTED BY THE JUDGES OF WORLD BIZ MAGAZINE'S ANNUAL AWARDS TO BE A RECIPIENT OF THE TOP 100 CEOS IN INNOVATION AWARD 2021.
THIS SELECTION FOLLOWS A STRINGENT PROCESS THAT EVALUATED OVER 40,000 NOMINEES TO SELECT THE EXCLUSIVE LIST OF 100 WINNERS.
Konrad Wasiela is the Founder and CEO of ESE Entertainment Inc. A graduate of the University of British Columbia and a CFL (Canadian Football League) alumni. Konrad played professional football for the BC Lions, Saskatchewan Roughriders and Montreal Allouettes. Through his business ventures and international holdings, Konrad has worked alongside global leaders in the gaming and entertainment industry. This included successful collaborations with EA Sports, Flutter Entertainment Inc, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc, Full Tilt Poker, Betfair, and the RGA (Remote Gaming Association). ESE operates its own e-commerce channels, esports teams, and gaming leagues. Konrad successfully took ESE public in 2021 on the Toronto Stock Exchange TSXV:ESE.
"Our company mission since day one has been has been to fill the infrastructure gap in the Esports industry by providing a 360-solution to service game developers and publishers to connect with fans and gamers around the world. Each one of ESE’s assets: ESE Gaming, WPG, K1CK esports franchise, Digital Motorsports, and Frenzy provide a unique specialized service and product that supports its 360-solution."
What is ESE Entertainment's mission?
Our company mission since day one has been has been to fill the infrastructure gap in the Esports industry by providing a 360-solution to service game developers and publishers to connect with fans and gamers around the world. Each one of ESE’s assets: ESE Gaming, WPG, K1CK esports franchise, Digital Motorsports, and Frenzy provide a unique specialized service and product that supports its 360-solution. We believe that we are elevating the fragmented industry of esports and gaming by providing this 360-solution approach. Through recent acquisitions and tier-1 partnerships, ESE has developed the capabilities of: physical infrastructure, E-commerce fan engagement, broadcasting solutions, global distribution for gaming and esports-related content, advertising, sponsorship support, racing simulation and a professional esport team.
What are ESE Entertainment's competitive advantages?
Our company's approach is crucial at this moment, because the industry is extremely fragmented and growing at a rapid pace globally. This is supported by the tier 1 contracts and services we provide to some of the worlds largest game publishers such as EA Sports, Riot Games, Valve and Ubisoft to name a few. We have also been able to provide our services seamlessly throughout Asia, Europe and North America.
We are providing a 360 esports infrastructure solution for the esports and gaming sector. Our ecosystem can provide, teams & leagues, software, media distribution, sponsorships, influencer marketing, e-commerce backend support, and tier-1 partnerships. We are able to deliver all of these services at a tier-1 global level but still provide very competitive prices. Our competitive advantage is the ability to execute on both small and large global projects while keeping costs relatively low compared to our competitors.
"As Esports and gaming is consistently growing and evolving, as a company you have to have the ability to pivot into new trends within the sector as fan engagement and viewership and popularity of certain games changes fast."
Talk to us about ESE Entertainment's focus on innovation.
As esports and gaming is consistently growing and evolving, as a company you have to have the ability to pivot into new trends within the sector as fan engagement and viewership and popularity of certain games changes fast. You have to anticipate where the next trend is going to be and have a chess like mentality. ESE has executed on that based on viewership data showing simulation racing is one of the fastest growing segments within F1 content. Now ESE has become a leader in digital motorsports following its acquisition of Digital Motorsports, a European based provider of advanced simulation racing (“sim racing”) infrastructure, technology, and support.
Another example would be within crypto currencies and NFTs. As one of the hottest trends on the market, ESE Entertainment was able to capitalize on those two trends by securing a production contract with SkillzVault by Bitcoin Vault, and created one of the first global esports tournaments and reality TV shows that had its own NFT collectibles.
"In the world of esports and gaming there are always new games and trends popping up, but, that is the exciting aspect of the industry: constant innovation and growth."
Please expand on some of the emerging trends that you see in your industry.
In the world of esports and gaming there are always new games and trends popping up, but, that is the exciting aspect of the industry: constant innovation and growth. One trend that has stood out is the increasing popularity of digital motorsports, and with the new Formula 1 series on Netflix, it has gone mainstream and it seems as though everyone wants to be the next pro racing car driver. Now with accessibility to simulators and realistic motorsports games, sim racing and digital motorsports has boomed. ESE has capitalized on this recent boom by acquiring Digital Motorsports and working on digital motorsport and esports implementation with brands such as Porsche, BMW, KIA and the FIA, the International Federation of Automobiles that plays a role in the licensing and sanctioning of F1, Formula E, World Rally Championship and more.
What technologies do you expect will transform esports and the wider business world in the coming years?
The concept of the Metaverse, is something I believe will be the most transformational concept in the coming decade. The Metaverse incorporates many technologies such as VR virtual reality, AR augmented reality, block chain technology and more. The Metaverse will allow us to create virtual spaces, virtual worlds in the future iteration of the internet. And this in my opinion is the ideal and future playground of gaming, esports and entertainment.
What external factors could become future challenges in your industry?
In one of the most challenging economic times in history the esports and gaming industry continued to thrive, gained popularity and experienced significant growth during the Covid 19 pandemic. Even though I believe we are in a very de-risked industry, I believe the greatest risk to the industry would be in the form of some type of cyber attack. This is something we need to keep a constant eye on and implement our own internal security strategies that protect us from these types of attacks.
What improvements do you want to see in the esports industry?
Esports isn’t as developed as traditional sports. The esports industry has a lack of standardization – unlike a traditional sports league, it is difficult to secure media rights on behalf of teams, there is a lack of permanent digital and physical infrastructure for supporting events and difficult to manage global broadcasting and advertising channels. ESE is bridging that industry gap needed in the space, bridging Europe, Asia, and North America. Ultimately providing a much needed 360 degree infrastructure solution to the industry.
Talk to us about the diversity in the esports industry.
ESE is constantly striving to ensure that we are promoting an inclusive and diverse environment in esports and gaming. We find it encouraging to see the industry as a whole has taken a similar approach and we have seen an increase in initiatives to promote diversity, for example: Women of Esports, Female Legends, AnyKey and more. Recently Consumer insights found that women comprised 35% of esports, and that number continues to grow. These are the types of initiatives and statistics that we love to see and we will continue to implement our own internal initiatives to promote diversity and inclusiveness.
ESE Entertainment’s CSR values consist of operating with integrity, delivering social and economic benefits, and a focus on inclusion with employees. I operate with integrity in all aspects of the company from senior management, corporate partnerships, human resources, financial management, shareholder engagement and decision making. ESE Entertainment has created a fan base bringing communities together and economic value in different regions such as Europe and Asia.
"I believe what makes a good leader is experience in leadership. Being open to new ideas, allowing people develop their talents. Even more so facilitating and nurturing peoples talents and skill sets."
What is required to achieve the ability of good leadership?
I believe what makes a good leader is experience in leadership. Being open to new ideas, allowing people develop their talents. Even more so facilitating and nurturing peoples talents and skill sets. Openness to learn and evolve all while not having a ego. Being selfless and inclusive. Leaders lead by example, they teach and they support. Lastly all good leaders that I have met are also stern but fair.
What's next for your ESE Entertainment?
Our company has a very clear goal to become a global leader in the esports and gaming sector. Specifically, by becoming the largest 360 solution provider in the industry by applying our existing business model of leveraging current assets, strategic acquisitions, expanding international footprint, and technological innovation. We will continue to build out our team globally and strive to become the next billion dollar company in the esports and gaming sector.
About ESE Entertainment
ESE Entertainment is a Europe based entertainment and technology company focused on gaming and esports, particularly on media rights relating to esports, physical and digital content creation and distribution of esports related content. ESE is focused on bridging Europe, Asia, and North America.
The company was founded in 2019 by Konrad Wasiela, a former professional football player. Today, ESE has grown to consist of multiple assets and world-class operators in the gaming and esports industries. Our capabilities include but are not limited to: physical infrastructure, broadcasting, global distribution for gaming and esports-related content, advertising, sponsorship support, and a growing esport team franchise.