Interview with Michael Bister, ESL



Today we are sitting down with Michael Bister, Head of Pro-Gaming Germany at Turtle Entertainment. Michael is an eSports Insider with more then 10 years of experience in eSports. We are just now taking, hopefully, a deeper look into the career side in eSports.

Thanks for sitting down with you Michael. Just introduce yourself a little bit to the readers, please.

Michael: Hey, I’m Michael, 29 years old, living and working in Cologne for the biggest eSport company of the world. My eSport career started over 10 years ago. Playing some Counter-Strike matches with my friends and hanging around at big LAN-parties in Germany. Years later, I did some jobs as a host and commentator for several eSports events in Germany. But this was beside my school time. Years later, through a lucky coincidence, I started a career as a TV host for the german TV station “GIGA Digital”. And then my journey began.

An eSports career in Germany and in the rest of the world

What do you think of an eSports career? Are there a lot of possibilities to take a career in eSports in the near future?

MichaelOf course. Esport is not only playing and watching games. Esport is much more. We have around 150 employees in our german office. From a HR department, to a graphic and sales office, also some guys for our community management and editorial. So there are many jobs in eSports.

Would there be any differences between “normal jobs” and “jobs in eSports”? Whats your opionion.

MichaelNope, there are no differences. I mean, if you want to work as a graphic artist, you can go to an agency to create billboards for companies etc. Or you can create designs for eSport companies, teams and events. So there is no difference in the actual doing. Only the surrounding is different. And if you are a big fan of eSport, you should definitly find a job here. There is nothing better to mix up your skills and hobby?

Could there be any differences in the countries regarding an eSports career? Have different countries and different subsidiaries other job specifiations?

MichaelThere are some differences. If you compare the countries around the world, some countries are more open-minded for eSport, like countries in Asia. But just take a look to us (Germany). In many cases we are a little bit behind the eSport scene in other countries (compare to Scandinavian, Asia, US) but in Cologne, there is one of the biggest eSport companies of the world.

Career in traditional Sport and eSports

Let us check differences and similarities in traditional sport and eSports.

Do you think think that there are differences or similarities between traditional sport and eSports?

MichaelThere are many similarities, but of course, there are some differences. The biggest on ist the best one: we are connected through the internet. So eSport is a global sport. So whatever happen at on end of the world, the other end will see it and will learn from it. In traditional sports, it’s mostly a regional thing. So a sport club is focused of his activity in his city, region, country… but they don’t really care what happened around them, in another countries etc.

At this moment there are a lot of specialised Headhunters in Sports? Could such a business be interesting for eSports too?

MichaelI think we have to wait some years to trust these headhunters. Because who is this headhunter? They are also new in the business, what is their knowledge about eSport? Did they work for some eSport companies for years? So you have to be careful with this headhunters. But to be honest, I’m not really a friend of headhunters. They work for provision/commission. So they aren’t really interested in you and the company. (IMHO)

Whats your opinion regarding this topic: Turtle Entertainment and other tournament organizers could be supervised by a sports marketer.

MichaelThey are not many other big tournament organizers. And with these others organizers we are working really close. There is no real “supervisor” or a network who is taking care of all the organiziers etc. Our work is so close to the teams and partners in these scene. I don’t think we need a supervisor, what should be his job in this scene?

So i guess that is a good transition to our next topic. Your employer Turtle Eintertainment.

eSports career at Turtle Entertainment

Turtle Entertainment operates the portal ESL. The biggest eSports tournaments are carried by you guys. How could people take a career chance at ESL?

MichaelThis is one of the easiest questions ever. Just check out our website: we have many job opportunities for everyone. In Germany, in Poland, in the US. So I think if someone is really interested in working in the eSport scene, he can find a job. Thats the good thing at the moment. The market is growing like nothing else, and now it’s the best time to step in into the market.

What benefits do ESL offer interested candidates contrary to competing companies?

MichaelHard question for me 😉 Because I never had a job interview at a “competing” company in eSport. I worked for several other companies (tv stations, marketing agencies, publisher etc.) but Turtle is the only eSport company that I worked for. So I don’t know which profits you will get if you work for other eSport companies. All what I know is, we have free BBQ at our events for employees.. this is a really good bonus.. don’t you think 😉 ?

Give as an example: How many applications do you get each week / do your company in totaly get each week?

MichaelThis is a topic regarding our HR department. I only can speak for my office (Product Management/german office). I receive round about 10 applications a month.

Thanks for your time Michael.

Michael: Thank you guys. You are welcome.

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