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Jake Lyon: “The Perfect Poster Boy for Esports” – Work In Sports Podcast
20th May 2020 • The Work in Sports Podcast - Insider Advice for Sports Careers • Brian Clapp - Work in Sports
00:00:00 00:44:30

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Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning at and this is the Work In Sports podcast…Prepping for this week’s interview was unlike many of my other weeks. Most of the time I have a pretty good vibe for the person I am going to speak with, their role, their struggles, their big goals - and can lean into that in my question development. But sometimes when you reach outside your comfort zone, it can be quite exhilarating. I’ve made it clear on this show multiple times prior that I am not a gamer. I don’t know the lingo, the leagues, the competitors -- but I am fascinated by the eSports ecosystem and subculture. Not in a - I want to give that a go way - more of a, this thing is huge, fans are dedicated, brands are flocking to it...I want to know why and better understand it. I’ll admit, and my wife will concede, that sometimes I avoid doing things I am afraid to fail at. The challenge of rebuilding our staircase I put off for quite some time because I was afraid to put tons of time and effort into it, and have it look like crap in the end.The challenge of researching and understanding eSports, and booking more guests connected to it, is something I’ve put off because what if at the end of it all, despite all the research and attempts, I come off sounding like an out of touch moron.Our internal monologues protect us from failure, but also sometimes prevent us from trying. Well, thanks to our awesome graphic designer Chris Culp who designs all of the podcast episode artwork for us, he broke me out of my shell without me even knowing it. He basically booked today’s guest and said - “hey I think you should do this” -- panic panic panic. Truth is, I went through my normal routine -- reading articles on the person, videos, background, social profiles and become quickly inspired to ask the questions you’ll hear shortly. What I found stupefying through my research, was the patronizing manner most people of my generation and older, speak to the youthful gaming audience. It’s like this stunned question repeated over and over again “so you can make money playing video games… ha!” or “Did you ever think wasting your youth on video games could work out for you like this?”The implied nature of the questions is that even though you are my guest and I am interviewing you because you are important, I want you to know, i think you are not important. Kind of made me mad. Offended. Ashamed. Funny thing is, I asked today’s guest about it and he couldn’t have been more mature and gracious. Jake Lyon is a 23-year-old retired gamer who played for the Houston Outlaws of the  Overwatch League, and is now part of the Overwatch broadcast team as a caster.  Financial Review called him "the perfect poster-boy for the sport as it tries to dispel the prejudice that computer-gaming is a lonely pursuit of wastrels and slobs" and in July 2018, Lyons was selected as one of two Overwatch League players to attend a summit between the International Olympic Committee and the esports community. He is an ambassador for eSports, a charismatic, mature, well-spoken passionate young man -- who is also our guest this week. Here’s Jake …Questions for Jake Lyon, Overwatch League Caster1: There is so much I want to get into regarding your background and how you got where you are – but before we jump into your story, I’d like to start out by discussing eSports in the current landscape.We keep sharing the quote around our office that “there is opportunity in chaos” – and when I say this out loud, I think this exemplifies eSports.Is esports ‘having a moment’ because it is perfectly suited to thrive in this current environment?2: I saw that the annual competition for the game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. – I won’t even try to pronounce the name for fear of showing my age – set a new viewership record in March making it the most-watched non-major esports tournament of all time.Live crowds are a part of the esports experience,