Core Interview Series - Tyler Schrodt

Welcome to Core, an interview series launched by EGF. Due to its very recent emergence and popularity, esports as a career is quickly becoming more and more appealing to students and players aspiring to become professional gamers. There have been numerous emerging roles for games, like professional play, casting, analysis and general content creation. Along with these amazing potential jobs, some titles have had an enormous surge in popularity recently, such as PUBG and Overwatch. Due to this explosion of press and popularity, we here at EGF wanted to interview current major decision-makers in the esports scene and find out how they developed their careers to receive such prestigious roles.

Core will be a fortnightly series, and we will be speaking to people such as Marty Strenczewilk, CEO and Founder of Splyce; and Matt Nausha, Director of Esports at CLG. We also will be talking to some leaders in the collegiate competitive scene, like the University of Delaware, who has been doing well most of the Tespa collegiate tournaments; and Stony Brook University, who have had pro-player OmarGod within their ranks; in order to see how they are developing their communities, competitive teams, and the events to further their brand.

We hope you’ll join us for this series for this deep dive into the current state of esports and how these people make decisions in this quickly growing space. We begin our launch this week speaking to the CEO and Founder of our company, Tyler Schrodt, in order to learn a bit more about what we do here at the Electronic Gaming Federation and about how Tyler decided to create his own company to tackle issues in the collegiate gaming environment.

  1. Hello, Tyler! Super excited to speak to you today. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

    • I am Tyler Schrodt, CEO of EGF. EGF started at the end of 2013, where I began by running tournaments out of my college dorm room. EGF is my second company and I’ve been running it for about 15 years now.

  2. Very cool, if you don’t mind me asking, what was that first company?

    • I ran a longboard manufacturing company called Enraged Panda Boarding Company. We sold longboards around the world, including countries like New Zealand, Germany, and Canada.

  3. Awesome! So before we dive into your company, how did you get into gaming and esports as an industry?

    • Video games have been a part of my life since I was three years old. My siblings were 10+ years older than me so video games were the primary bonding experience between as. As I grew up, I started playing Counter-Strike on a team. After a while, I realized that I was holding them back and switched to a management role. After that, I didn’t follow esports as heavily until I was in college when Twitch released. It made me realize that while esports was growing, there wasn’t a good ecosystem for developing the skills of high school and college students, inspiring me to start EGF.

  4. Let’s jump into your company then. What is the mission statement of your organization?

    • Our primary mission is to build the next generation of the NCAA designed specifically for esports by helping colleges and high schools use esports as a tool for education and development.

  5. Awesome, maybe you could tell me a little about your experiences with your company. What is your fondest memory with EGF?

    • The fondest memory definitely changes with generations of the company. Running the first tournament was a huge deal, even if it was pretty bad at the time. My all-time favorite memory was fairly recent, it was the first time we ran a high school LAN tournament for the finals of our Spring 2017 series.The coolest part about it for me was that it wasn’t just players and their parents that showed up - student-athletes from traditional sports came to cheer on their teams which were one of those completely unexpected moments that highlights how gaming can bring together really different communities.

  6. What do you consider as your biggest accomplishment with EGF?

    • Tying back to the last question, being able to enable that high school experience and just having the opportunity to increase awareness about esports. When we first started most people didn’t know what esports were or didn’t take it seriously but now, we have the opportunity to work with city and state governments and college administration around the country to build the foundation of what we hope esports becomes in the years to come.

  7. Describe your average day

    • A lot of writing emails and talking to people. Our operations happen in cycles, which we categorize as in season and out of season. Our out of season, during the summer and winter, is focused on program development, which is primarily a lot of meetings and educational workshops.

    • In-season is primarily focused on scheduling, making sure that the leagues we run are running smoothly, and everything else involved in running competitions. Around this time we put a lot of effort into improving our existing programs, such as our media team and continuing to develop programs for people potentially make a career out of the work they do for us.

    • Overall, it is a mix of a lot of paperwork, a lot of meetings, and a lot of communication to make sure everyone is on the same page.

  8. How large is your company? Can you give me a breakdown of your team?

    • If you include everyone who is involved with behind the scenes stuff, we have around 38 people. This is a mix of school admins, casters, content creators, and program development. There's a lot of overlap between jobs. About 50% of those people are casters or content creators and the rest work on things related to program development.

  9. Let’s take a step back, what has been your inspiration in leading this company? What has been key to your success?

    • Everything that we do comes from the fact that we love gaming and we love the potential it holds to create real impact for people. Everything after that is channeling that love into building something we know is necessary to ensure a stable future for our industry that provides real benefits to our members.

    • I think the success we’ve had so far has been in huge part to how supportive our industry can be and how open people from outside of our world have been to learning about esports and giving us the privilege of helping them through that.

  10. Describe what you think the state of esports will be in 5 to 10 years?

    • If we are successful, you’ll see a very strong college and the high school system that people can use to work towards a career, whether it is as a player or within management. It’s hard to say where the games will go and if they change, for example, everyone has been predicting the death of League of Legends but it isn’t going anywhere. As you see esports go towards the franchise model, I expect you’ll see the industry stabilize beyond where it is right now both in terms of monetization and mainstream awareness. Selfishly, I also hope to see a stronger NA presence on the world stage.

  11. Thank you Tyler, this has been wonderful. With such an impactful organization, I am excited to see what your next steps are. What do the next few months for EGF look like?

    • There’s a lot coming that we’re really excited to announce over the next few months - generally speaking, you’ll see a lot of new programs at the collegiate and high school level and a ton of programming from us focused on creating more opportunities for students to get involved with governance and the industry in general.

  12. Thanks again for your time, where can others go you check you guys out? Social networks, website, etc.

    • You can find me on Twitter @tschrodt. You can find out more about EGF at egfederation.com, www.facebook.com/egfederation, or on Twitch and Twitter @officialEGF.