Jose Tellez is the Director of Partnerships at WIN.gg, one of the most popular esports news sites. The WIN platform encompasses both written and video content and is based out of Minneapolis. As the primary revenue driver of a content-focused business, Jose has had the difficult job of adapting WIN.gg to a COVID-afflicted market.
NGame: Can you tell us about your position and impact for Win?
Jose Tellez: We have four products under our belt; WIN.gg is simply the most prominent and commands the most value in terms of our product offering. The impact that it creates here at WIN.gg is truly allowing us to present value to the space. On the surface, what that means is being able to work with brands and help connect them to gamers and esports enthusiasts in some of the most creative ways possible. 99% of the time, that usually involves content. That’s what our team does best, is produce content whether that be written or video. But my job is to take that value that we bring to the table in terms of content and show potential partners, potential advertisers, potential marketers that we work with that we know how to speak to this audience natively through content.
NGame: Who are the competitors of Win.gg, and what makes the company different?
Jose Tellez: When you look at WIN.gg, most users see just an esports media portal. In fact, I would consider WIN.gg a premier esports media portal. That puts us in competition with guys like Dot Esports, Dexerto, DoubleTap, really any website that you go to consume your esports-specific content. We fall into that bucket, but with that said, two big differentiators would be, one, the esports titles that we cover. We strictly cover the titles of League of Legends, CS:GO, Dota, Overwatch, and VALORANT. Those five specific titles but we also cover general esports news such as Twitch as a streaming platform and community. All the content we produce that’s new on a daily basis revolves around those esports titles.
That’s a surface level differentiator, but deep at the core of what we do, WIN.gg again is still just one of four different products that we offer here at Win. The big differentiator here is that we have opportunities through partnerships to build in value from any one of our given products into a WIN.gg collaboration, whereas other esports media entities may not or don’t have that power simply because they don’t own the products that we own. They don’t have an offering outside of their primary media entity like we do. All of our products are very esports-centric; however, they all plug very different values into the space. We strive our best to include those values into every potential partnership or marketing opportunity that comes across our table.
NGame: How has the pandemic impacted the way you do your job and collaborate with colleagues?
Jose Tellez: Interestingly enough, WIN.gg was a remote company prior to the pandemic hitting. I would say the biggest impact that the pandemic had on our day-to-day, because we were already pretty efficient at operating on a remote basis, the biggest impact it had was how we defined our business model. On the surface, the biggest revenue opportunity that we have is being able to monetize the traffic that we are able to bring in through our content on a monthly basis.
As everyone knows, when the pandemic hit, marketing dollars, advertising dollars, all of those dried up very quickly. We had to pivot internally, in terms of how we continue to stay afloat as a company, to drive revenue, to build repertoire is the bottom line, and we focused on very creative efforts; introducing more layers of content, forming content distribution partnerships with other key media players in the space. Finding unique ways to drive value through content, whether that’s B-to-B or B-to-C, and doing so in a time where we weren’t able to focus on standard media buys, on direct advertising and marketing on that front. So it was just an internal pivot that we made with anything else that’s allowing the team to grow at the rate that we are. But from an operational perspective, we were already good at operating on a remote basis prior to COVID.
NGame: What are some of the key learnings you will take away from the 2020 challenges?
Jose Tellez: I think the biggest learning that we can take is that esports is still figuring itself out. Even in a year where there was so much unknown in 2020, the space itself, in my opinion, pushed itself forward about two years. With that in mind, the space as a whole is still able to see tremendous growth in a period where so many other verticals in so many other industries were either shut down or completely lost so much traction. With esports, our biggest learning in how to operate in the space moving forward is that nothing is guaranteed. You have to be scrappy month over month. We have to continue to innovate on behalf of our users and on behalf of our advertisers, making sure that we’re bringing unique collaborations to the table. Making sure that we’re taking time each month to devote critical thinking processes to these unique collaboration ideas simply because you never know what can happen. You never know what will change your very basic revenue model or business model, and if you have to pivot, you should be ready.
That’s the one takeaway that we’re taking with us into 2021; how do we continue to innovate so that we are ready in case this pandemic extends or in case it doubles-down in some negative way. How do we make sure that not only do we stay afloat, that we’re continuing to innovate on behalf of our users and on behalf of our partners? That’s a very fine balance there.
Jose Tellez has previously worked as a Business Development Manager for competitive esports organization Demise and as the Business Development Advisor for Gamerized. He first joined WIN.gg in February of 2020, right at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Written by Kenneth Williams