How to get into Esports: An interview with Adriano Salamone

Adriano Salamone is the Director of Partnerships at esports and influencer talent agency, Rumble Gaming. From his humble beginnings as a competitive player to his contributions to the early success of Enthusiast Gaming, Adriano has become an expert in esports industry navigation.

NGame: How did you get involved in esports?

Adriano Salamone: I actually got involved in esports back when I was 14 years old, playing Counter-Strike for Cal-IM (Cyberathlete Amateur League). We had a local group in the Ontario system. In college or just after, I had a few chats with the owners of esports teams. Everything was so grassroots. There were no major teams, really, but a few were percolating. Back then, you could pretty much talk to anybody if you offered to help. Here and there, a few opportunities came up, and the next thing you know, I was working a full-time position at a recruiting agency while working a commission-only sales job for Enthusiast Gaming. After awhile, I decided to quit the recruiting agency and was able to work for Enthusiast Gaming full time. 

They had a tiny office with about three desks in it. I started selling ad space for the team, then booths for EGLX. It had actually started as a Super Smash Bros. tournament in a pizzeria basement, so kudos to the determination that helped it grow to what it has become. We were expecting 10,000 people that year, and 24,000 showed up. We were flabbergasted. Nothing ever goes perfectly as planned in esports, so there are always funny stories about events. That’s how I essentially got involved.

NGame: What are your responsibilities in your current position?

Adriano Salamone: That’s easy to answer, but difficult to explain. “Find opportunities that make revenue,” is probably the best way to word it, but the pathway isn’t always clear. At the end of the day, my main responsibility is to look at an opportunity and find out who will pay for it, and what revenue will be generated from it. It is actually complex to put into motion. To be honest, everyone in this industry has a very big vision, and everything is going to make $10 million. However, is it actually? I’m a bit of a downer for a lot of conversations I go into (laughs) because I’m kind of the stoic one in the background saying, “are you sure about this?”

I have a sales team that I support when it comes to being brought into conversations. There’s no set formula for this in esports. A great comparison is [traditional] sports, right? If you want to advertise during the Super Bowl, you can get a commercial, you can get on the field itself through localized broadcast or physical placement, etc. It’s all set and dry. When you turn to esports, there are social media packages, logos on jerseys, etc. There’s just so much to talk about that when you go in [to a meeting], you realize that everyone is inundated with esports and confused by it. Esports not only has about eight different genres but in each of those, about ten different games that each have communities that you can potentially work with. 

NGame: What advice would you give someone looking to get started in esports?

Adriano Salamone: Rely on yourself. Tides rise all ships, or however, the saying goes. The thing about esports is that there are very few experts. When it comes to being an expert, you have an opportunity. If you work hard at it and you keep working at it, then eventually, you will become that expert that people turn to. When it comes to doing things, just find a way to get it done because it’s likely that other people have not gotten it done or don’t know how to.

That’s where a lot of people falter. It’s easy to fill out a form, but it’s not easy to create the form that you have to fill out. But someone’s got to be that person.

Written by HB Duran

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