eSports

Skillshot Media Cuts Ties to Former Parent Hi-Rez Studios, Plans Esports Media Center in Atlanta

  • Esports production company Skillshot Media cut financial ties to its former parent company and founder Hi-Rez Studios.
  • Former Hi-Rez executives, Todd Harris, co-founder; and Nabil Ismail, a former vice president; bought out Skillshot’s management and took over as CEO and COO, respectively.
  • Skillshot Media is planning to build an esports operation center in downtown Atlanta in a strategic partnership with internet services company Internap (INAP).

Today, esports production company Skillshot Media announced the completion of a management buy-out by two former Hi-Rez Studios executives: Todd Harris and Nabil Ismail. Hi-Rez Studios, which formerly owned the company, no longer has an ownership interest in Skillshot Media. Both, Harris, a co-founder of Hi-Rez, and Ismail, a former vice president for Hi-Rez, will exit the company and serve as CEO and COO, respectively, of Skillshot Media. Financial details of the management buy-out were not disclosed.

Additionally, Skillshot Media revealed plans to develop an esports operations center and production studio in a strategic partnership with internet services company Internap (INAP). The Esports Media Center will be located within INAP’s flagship Atlanta data center facility in downtown Atlanta which is within walking distance to the Atlanta Hawks’ home, the State Farm Arena, as well as the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which hosted the 2019 NFL SuperBowl.

“With 15 years in game development and marketing, we have seen first-hand how a community-driven esports approach delivers results for both the game publisher and brand partners,” said Todd Harris, CEO of Skillshot Media, in a release. “Players who watch esports are more engaged and spend more money with the game publisher. Those players also have higher spending and goodwill toward partners who authentically support esports events. We believe brands that want to reach the next generation of consumers will discover esports to be the most effective and efficient way to connect with that massive audience, and Skillshot wants to help them do exactly that.”

Skillshot Media was founded as a Hi-Rez Studios subsidiary in 2018 as an esports focused studio. The studio was initially focussed on bringing more attention to SMITE and Paladins esports, two titles developed by Hi-Rez. According to Esports Earnings, Smite’s yearly cumulative prize pools have been on a steady decline since 2015, indicating the deterioration of the game as an esports title. Skillshot Media has since ventured into other titles as an esports events operator. It has become a household name in the Atlanta area, organizing esports tournaments such as DreamHack Atlanta and the Overwatch League’s Atlanta Reign homestand last year.

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