Esports infrastructure company Vindex has hired sports broadcast industry veteran Marshall Zelaznik as CEO of its Esports Engine subsidiary, as it looks to deal with a rapidly growing client base that is asking to expand globally.
Vindex, which helps entities throughout competitive gaming put on live events, was founded late last year by the former Major League Gaming executives Mike Sepso and Sundance DiGiovanni plus industry veteran Adam Apicella, who also formerly worked at MLG and co-founded Esports Engine.
The company is working with publishers, teams and agencies on everything from broadcast to production to pull off various events in gaming. Apicella told SBJ that the company has quickly amassed 30 clients, all of which have come in organically through word of mouth or prior relationships because its founders are longtime respected executives in the space.
Now, as Vindex merges Esports Engine with another of its subsidiaries, Next Generation Esports, and is seeing increasing calls from clients to help them do more outside of North America, it has hired the L.A.-based Zelaznik, a former UFC and Activision Blizzard executive, to help lead that expansion.
“(The company’s growth) has been explosive,” Apicella said. “At this point, we have 30-plus different clients and it has been tough to keep up, so Marshall coming on is a blessing because all of our clients want to expand boots on the ground internationally.”
Zelaznik helped start up offices around the world for UFC, and also worked on global projects for Activision, and he says he envisions his role being somewhat similar for Esports Engine. He said his role is to essentially be “the extra finger on the hand” for an already experienced executive team and find new hires and possible acquisitions in other countries. It may also launch offices and studios in those territories in a bid to “put boots in the ground,” Zelaznik said.
“I don’t intend to be the guy that is the one-on-one relationship with a publisher; I’m there to support them and I will be in the room helping us think about global development.”
Apicella noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has unintentionally helped spark business for Vindex because so many companies are now looking to implement remote production, which is something that he and his fellow MLG executives helped pioneer in gaming years ago. He said that Esports Engine has doubled in size from 20 to 40 employees in one year and is “healthy and profitable.”
“With the combination of these two units (Esports Engine and NGE), I do think we’ll be one of the largest pure service plays in this industry globally,” Apicella said.
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