The Esports Entrepreneur Who Wants The Sector To Be A Force For Good

Esports has gone from a niche to mainstream entertainment within a matter of years. This year, esports events are watched by around 474 million people in the world. By 2021, global revenues will reach $1.1 Billion.

One esports organization, however, is not content with cashing in on the global phenomenon. It wants to position esports for good and run campaigns around racism, knife crimes, diversity, nutrition, and loneliness.

Oliver Weingarten established LDN UTD in 2018. The organization combines professional esports, grassroots gaming, and healthy lifestyles with social issues. He believes that esports is more than entertainment. “We have young people’s attention, and we need to make esports a platform for helping change the world.”

Weingarten was a former executive at the Premier League, Formula One Teams Association, and was fascinated by esports’ development. After doing his research, he went to Wembley Arena for the CS: GO finals. This was his first event in esports, and he admits that he was blown away. He stated, “When Wembley Arena has sold out on Friday afternoon, with families, Gen-Zs and so forth, you have to be observant.”

It was the motivation that drove him to pursue a career in esports full-time but only with the belief that he could create an enterprise that would be financially profitable and serve a social purpose.

Weingarten states, “I love helping others and realized that esports was the best vehicle for this.” I founded LDN UTD as a purpose-driven organization that works with stakeholders not typically associated with gaming and esports to raise awareness about critical issues for the difficult-to-engage gaming community.

LDN UTD offers four esports titles. It has content creators, grassroots teams in Wild Rift, League of Legends, professional rosters of Valorant, Fifa, Fortnite, and League of Legends. Ondrej’  Monsteerr’ Petru, one their Valorant pros, was recently transferred to Team Heretics in Spain for an undisclosed sum.

Weingarten states that “the U.K. has an incredible esports team, particularly in Fortnite and Call of Duty,” “Our model is to nurture and educate talent using the popularity of relevant gaming titles.”

The heart of all they do is to make a positive difference in society. This includes targeting Generation Z, which is the most challenging audience to reach. Weingarten sought partnerships and encouraged other brands that shared his vision to partner with him when he launched his esports brand. LDN UTD partnered with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation to host a FIFA21 tournament titled “UTD Against Racism.” This tournament addressed issues such as racism and equality in sports and gaming.

Other campaigns that have had an impact include #GrimeAgainstKnives. It was held at Lewisham Shopping Center in London. The team collaborated closely with grime artists and the police to demonstrate a proof-of-concept that an event using esports could be used to engage with disenfranchised young people.

LDN UTD was impacted by the pandemic, as were all other esports businesses. A series of physical events for grassroots gamers that would have generated substantial revenue had to be postponed. Due to this, the industry had to change and now works exclusively online to provide nutritional support, coaching, mental and physical wellness, and financial support. The company’s turnover was around PS100,000.

With plans underway for a PS5million fundraising round, the prospect that physical events will be held thanks again to the ease of Covid-19 restrictions and plans for global expansion, this business expects a high-end turnover of PS40m within the next five years.

The group has many other events planned. They include a safeguarding campaign in conjunction with the NSPCC and a health- and wellbeing campaign in partnership with London Mayor. The team is also working with outreach partners to offer interns.

Weingarten sees a natural expansion to LDN UTD models in major cities around the globe. In the same vein that David Beckham’s Guild Esports doesn’t rule out an IPO. Weingarten would love to see an evolution in the esports community towards a more social conscience.

He states that “we see more organizations embrace the concept of social responsibility. But while it’s easy to say, it’s challenging for organizations to practice it authentically.” Our philosophy of esports as a force for good makes me feel like we are the ones leading the way.

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Samatha Vale
Samatha a senior writer for HC's entertainment team. She is an entreprenuer, mother and an excellent writer. She's also an avid reader, music enthusiast and all around inquisitive person - which is just a nice way of saying she's nosy.

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