April 7, 2021
By Adam Stern Reporter, Sports Business Journal
California-based sports marketing agency Pivot has hired esports salesperson John Younger as it looks to build out a more full-time presence in gaming.
The agency has been working in the esports space for a handful of years ago with clients including NRG Esports, but it is stocked with stick-and-ball veterans and feels bringing on a full-time gaming executive can help fortify and grow its business in the space.
Younger joins as vice president of esports and gaming and will remain based in Texas for now; Pivot also has some of its 25-person staff based in the Lone Star State, though most are in Northern California. Younger has prior stops in the esports space with Infinite Esports & Entertainment and Signal Fire Sports & Entertainment, and he previously worked in the motorsports industry with stops at IndyCar/Indianapolis Motor Speedway among others.
Pivot was founded in 2013 and to this point has had four key business verticals in property representation, brand consulting, team travel and tennis.
Patrick Cassidy, Pivot’s executive vice president of properties, said the company sees a major opportunity in consulting for brands that want to, or are just getting into, esports. Aaron Kulik, vice president of strategy for Pivot, added that bringing someone in who focuses on gaming every day will allow the agency to deliver better results for its clients in that space.
“Our roots on the property side have been traditional sports and as we slowly got more into esports,” Kulik said. “The more and more we grow in the space, the more we have to build out a team that is not just kind of traditional sports (people) selling on behalf of esports but more people who are passionate about esports and know the space.”
Deals that Pivot has helped set up in gaming include NRG’s sponsorship with Popeye’s that launched last May. Kulik said that Pivot is seeing particular interest in esports from brands in the financial technology and insurance categories.
Cassidy also said that the coronavirus pandemic last year helped cement in the agency’s view that esports was legitimate and that it should be investing more in the space.
“For us, like a lot of companies, (the pandemic) has accelerated our focus on the space,” Cassidy said. “COVID really reinforced that this is a sport that’s here to stay.”