5 Questions With Michiel Bakker, CEO of GINX Esports TV

TNL Take: In this edition of "5 Questions With", we speak with Michiel Bakker, CEO of GINX Esports TVMichiel was previously with MTV Networks Europe as well as Chairman of Nickelodeon and Paramount Networks.  He is now focusing on growing GINX Esports TV digital and social footprint alongside the TV channel in multiple international markets. Michiel will also be speaking at Esports BAR, the leading B2B event for esports.


Ginx.tv is currently the largest esports TV channel globally. As esports has grown digitally, where does Ginx see esports on TV?

We see the role of TV in the esports ecosystem as extending the reach of esports into mainstream sports audiences.  Production values and perhaps more importantly, entertainment value, are increasing all the time; which helps us stand alongside more traditional sports channels.  When more of the audience understand the fundamentals of the games being played, the more they can share in the passion.   That’s why Ginx is deliberately taking an inclusive stance towards non-core and core gamers alike.


How many countries is Ginx.tv currently available and what are your expansion goals for 2018?

Right now GINX Esports TV is available in more than 50 million households in over 50 territories worldwide.  For 2018, we want to grow that by 50% to 75 million households with hopefully a significant announcement shortly.


You currently have several shows in production including "This Week in Esports", "The Bridge", and "IRL" - talk about the importance of shoulder content in addition to esports events and tournaments?

We love telling stories and that’s what TV is good at.  If anything, I’d like to do a lot more storytelling with the channel and our plans are constantly evolving.  I see it as a key purpose for Ginx, one where we can add real value to esports overall, which is to tell the stories of the players, the teams and the behind-the-scenes at tournaments - as well as broadcasting the events themselves.  Passion, emotion. dedication, pain, sacrifice, sublime mastery and utter elation are all present in esports and all fertile ground for storytelling.


What are your plans to enter the US Market?

Obviously the US is a massive esports market and although we are already present through the Sony Playstation Vue service, as well as in some smaller cable systems in certain states, we have well-developed plans to enter the US market in the near term but it is just a little to early to share those at this moment.


You also offer the ability to watch digitally on Ginx.tv - what percentagee of your audience is watching digitally vs. TV?

The vast majority of our audience is watching us through TV, we are a TV station after all.    Having said that, we are working very hard to expand the  digital footprint around and alongside the TV channel.   Our aim is to build and scale a digital community alongside the TV channel.    In addition to making improvements to our existing portfolio of digital products, be that our own Ginx TV Player or our presence on platforms like Roku and Amazon, our plans centre around content syndication and extending our presence on mobile.

Sponsored article by Esports BAR Cannes, the leading B2B esports event.

Special rates are granted to all The Next Level readers: Use code ESBTNL and grab your Delegate Package at €200 off the normal price. Register at www.the-esports-bar.com

5 Questions With Wouter Sleijffers, CEO of Fnatic

TNL Take: In this edition of "5 Questions With", we speak with Wouter Sleijffers, CEO of Fnatic who joined in 2015 and is taking the brand and organisation to the next level with his vast leadership and marketing experience. Wouter is also an advisor to Esports BAR, the leading B2B event for esports.

Fnatic has multiple brand partners from Monster to AMD however one is particularly interesting, Deezer. How did this partnership come about and where do you see music and esports overlapping?

The partnership with Deezer originated through an introduction by the Lagardere team. From there on, we started a conversation about our respective passion for esports and music and it immediately clicked.

Aside from the obvious global widespread consumption of both music and gaming / esports content by our largely shared audience, you can see how there are many parallels between music and esports. The digital aspect of our arts, the variety of genres and particularities of the fans, the digital distribution, etc. 


Fnatic went the route of becoming a hardware manufacturer by selling branded Headsets, keyboards, etc via Fnatic Gear. vs. partnering with another company. Why did Fnatic make this decision and any info you can share on the growth?

Fnatic Branded Keyboard (Photo: Fnatic)

Fnatic Branded Keyboard (Photo: Fnatic)

The decision derives from our mission to "lead the new world sport into every houselhold through experiences, content and products". With our 13 years of esports know how at the highest levels, no one else knows better than us what real esports equipment requires.

To enjoy your game, to improve your game and beat competition on the so critical margins. Aside from that it, creates opportunities for us and our partners to really engage with our audience. Creating our own products is one way for us to define our brand and define what esports is really about. From a business perspective it simply creates a complete new growth opportunity in the booming esports industry.


Fnatic is currently involved in mobile game Vainglory. With Clash Royale and the launch of Arena of Valor (Honour of Kings in China) in the EU and US, do you see 2018 for mobile esports to take off?

Fnatic Enters Vainglory (Photo: Fnatic)

Fnatic Enters Vainglory (Photo: Fnatic)

Yes we see great potential in mobile esports and we took our first steps with Vainglory 8. Clash Royale and Arena of Valor, those are games that have a massive player base and have already proven to be able to attract a large and engaged audience.

Let's see if 2018 is really the year of mobile esports, but no doubt in the next 2 to 3 years it'll be considered as the 3rd platform where esports is taking place -next to PC and console.


You also have a partnership with Gamerz, an esports show where fans compete to win an opportunity to be a part of Fnatic. Fnatic produces a ton of internal content (YouTube/Twitch) and now branching further out. How important is the need for esports shoulder content?

Content is critical for the growth of esports. There's a high demand by the core fans, but it also introduces new audiences into the professional world of esports. Still many are not familiar what esports really entails and telling the stories of the players, the fans, the emotions, etc is a way to let the audience really enjoy and appreciate esports.


Finally, some esports prediction for 2018 - where do you see the space heading?

I'll give you two predictions.

First, 2018 will be the year of esports leagues and associations. So 2018 will see reaping the first rewards of the leagues structures that are taking place in form of multi-million global sponsorships and further significant broadcasting and licensing deals. It will snowball from there.

Second, Fnatic will regain its crown as LCS World Champions!

Sponsored article by Esports BAR Cannes, the leading B2B esports event.

Special rates are granted to all The Next Level readers: Use code ESBTNL and grab your Delegate Package at €200 off the normal price. Register at www.the-esports-bar.com

Esports Week In Review | NBA 2K League, Twitch Top 10, Podcast and 5 Questions With


Esports Week In Review

Esports Week In Review

TNL Take: This week we looked at how the NBA 2K League could affect traditional sports, Fortnite rising on the Twitch Top 10, TNL esports podcast featuring Brett Lautenbach (President of NRG Esports) and 5 Questions With Stéphane Gambetta from Esports BAR.



10 Ways The NBA 2K League Could Change All Sports Not Just Esports

TNL esports 032.png


Have a great weekend!

5 Questions With: Stéphane Gambetta, Esports BAR


Stéphane Gambetta, Esports BAR (Photo: Esports BAR)

Stéphane Gambetta, Esports BAR (Photo: Esports BAR)

TNL Take: In the 1st edition of "5 Questions With", we speak with Stéphane Gambetta, Strategy and Business Development Director with Esports BAR. 

/01 What can Reed MIDEM and the Esports BAR provide for the emerging esports industry?

Being part of Reed Exhibitions, the world’s leading exhibition and conference organiser, Reed MIDEM has a trusted reputation for building effective, well-organised and international events. We also have the expertise in serving complex rights markets and have 50 years of history helping notably entertainment businesses grow through international professional markets such as MIPCOM, MIPTV or MIDEM.

Additionally, through our entertainment markets, we have the contacts and industry knowledge of the brand world, with its need to be at the heart of the storytelling and media experience, with both its wish to get into content distribution rights for esports events as well as its capacity to offer high quality production capabilities to the esports organisers.


/02 How much support has the event received from the industry?

The first two editions - the first one was held in Cannes last February and the second took place in Miami in September - have received wide acclaim and reached a 90% satisfaction rating.

To provide the most productive esports matchmaking experience possible and better understand the needs of the sector, we’re also supported by an advisory team of leading esports professionals from companies and teams including Electronic Arts, ESL, Activision-Blizzard, MTGx, Turner, ROX Tigers and Fnatic.   


/03 What are the next steps for Esports BAR now?

Following the success of the first two editions in Cannes and Miami, Esports BAR Cannes 2018 is already attracting major companies and global brands that are looking to stay ahead of the meta in the fast-growing esports sector.

In February, the central theme of Esports BAR Cannes will be "Esports Comes of Age: Drafting a Long-Term Battle Plan" focusing debate on the key factors to take the sector to the next level and create the conditions for a sustainable and thriving industry.

Additional panels include "Learning from the Leagues" currently featuring ESL, FACEIT, StarLadder, and Activision Blizzard,  "Assessing the Value of esports Sponsorship" with Nielsen Esports and sports and esports will be a main topic of the panel "Football Clubs in esports: What, Why and Who" including major international sports agencies like STARK eSports and Qwatti eSports.


/04 What makes Esports BAR different than other esports conferences or events?

What has set Esports BAR apart from other esports events is therefore the high quality of the professionals gathered in one place and the global participation with eighteen countries represented. Our goal was to create a platform to discuss sponsorships and distribution rights among non-indigenous and indigenous brands, media, esports teams, professional leagues, game publishers and advertising agencies.

In addition, the format is very specific and effective for business. Esports BAR is an optimal mix of formal and informal events designed to accomplish the most possible in three days.


/05 Do you see Esports BAR expanding to other international locations?

We are definitely not interested by short term approaches. Our ambition is to support the long-term growth of the esports sector as we have been doing for the TV and music industries.

Esports BAR is set in Europe, thanks to Esports Bar Cannes, regularly scheduled each year in the French Riviera in February, as well as in the US with Esports Bar Miami which takes place in September.

Both editions give us the opportunity to reach two different break through regions of the sector, Europe and the Americas. That being said, we constantly study the trends impacting the market and will adapt our offer accordingly to the specific needs industry.

Sponsored article by Esports BAR Cannes, the leading B2B esports event.

Special rates are granted to all The Next Level readers: Use code ESBTNL and grab your Delegate Package at €200 off the normal price. Register at www.the-esports-bar.com