Esports-focused digital photo and video licensing platform ESPAT Media Group will announce later today that former National Football League, Major League Soccer, and GMR Marketing executive Matt Hill has joined the company as its new chief executive officer. Hill is no stranger to esports, having worked for marketing advertising agency GMR Marketing for six years connecting brands and companies with gaming and esports-related properties as a senior vice president working out of New York City.
He also served two stints at the NFL, spending five years as a corporate communications coordinator from 2002 – 2007, and in a return engagement after earning a business degree of nearly three years from 2012 – 2014 as director of business development, sponsorship & media sales. Hill also worked at MLS for more than two years as manager of business development and did an MBA internship at Adidas focusing on global brand marketing. He was also named a member of the Forty Under 40 by sister publication Sports Business Journal in 2018.
Hill explained that a strong relationship with ESPAT Media Group co-founders Ed Boon (who he worked with during one of his stops at the NFL) and Mario Prosperino (who crossed paths with him during some NFL-Getty Images projects) and the potential of ESPAT’s business model are what sealed the deal for him.
“We’ve known each other (Ed, Mario, myself) for a long time and have had a long-established trust and respect for one another as we’ve gotten deeper into these conversations. It just felt right for all parties and we have a powerful vision for where we want to head with this company, and now it’s just time to roll up our sleeves and get to work on it.”
As for what that work entails, Hill will lead efforts in 2021 to secure more media partnerships, but also implement technologies into partners’ media libraries to drive engagement with the gaming community.
“Today we have over 30 esports teams across a number of organizations who are on our client roster. We’ve got a very strong pipeline right now. We are working on some other big agreements we hope to be able to share in the weeks and months ahead. As we continue to build out the B2B licensing clientele, that’s going to help us drive scale and help us continue to build the ESPAT Media Group reputation in the industry.
“The second piece of that is the development of the technologies that I referenced earlier around machine learning and image recognition to be able to make these images much more dynamic and create new ways to engage with them to unlock new monetization opportunities. Those elements are going to go sort hand-in-hand, so it’s going to be an aggressive year for us.”