Being an intern at BLAST
Finding an internship in itself can be an uphill task. Throw a global pandemic into the equation and that hill becomes a mountain.
Many companies and organisations are not operating at full function yet, so many do not currently have the time or resources for an intern. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to be given that opportunity by BLAST, working in the commercial partnerships department. My internship will run through the second half of the year where my time with BLAST will culminate in the curtain closing on this year’s prestigious BLAST Premier World Final.
I’ll start by introducing myself, my name is Janie (31-years-old) and I am currently doing my internship to complete a Bachelor in Sports Management from the University College of Nothernjutland (UCN). To give you an understanding of the road I’ve traveled so far, before I started to study Sports Management, I worked for the Salling Group for almost 14 years. After college I was offered a retail trainee position where I worked and started my journey in the company. I had a great time there, learning many things and working myself up to be a Vice Manager for the second best selling store in Denmark. It was a good workplace, but I came to the realisation that it wasn’t in my future work plans. I wanted to do something different, but I didn’t quite know what that might entail exactly. That’s when I stumbled upon the Sports Management degree and felt this is where my long-term aspirations lay. I believed at that time that I wanted to work with sports and make a difference for people who couldn’t access the same possibilities to others more fortunate.
Many of my fellow Sports Management students at UCN usually take their internship in traditional sporting organisations and companies, but one thing about me is that I like to take the less travelled path. That is why I chose to have my internship within an esport organisation. I was never really a big gamer myself. I remember playing the popular fighting game Tekken on my Playstation One back in the day, but that is pretty much it, and obviously a little bit of SIMS when it first was released – but who doesn’t love SIMS right? So you can say that I literally have no background or experience when it comes to the world of gaming and esports. Wish me luck!
My university lecturer Anders helped pique my interest within esport; it was his energy and motivation towards the industry that got me started and he has become one of my inspirations for joining the esport industry. It all started when he was talking about the development of the esport industry, and posing the question on whether we believed it should be recognised as an actual sport or not. This is still an ongoing debate in the sport industry, but I believe it is a sport – it takes concentration, persistence, training, energy and a ultra motivation to be at the very top of your field of play. It’s not an easy task to do. Is it easy to be a professional football player? Or handball player? No, it also takes many hours and years of practice and dedication. Therefore I believe it’s a sport like any other. In the Sports Management studies, we learn about marketing, sponsors, volunteers and governance etc. In my electives, I chose social media and sport business analytics, because I believe it will be a big part of my future work life and will come in great handy during my time in the esports world with BLAST.
“This is still an ongoing debate in the sport industry, but I believe esports is a sport – it takes concentration, persistence, training, energy and a ultra motivation to be at the very top of your field of play.”
A little backstory that adds nicely on my journey into esports, I studied in South Korea for a semester in fall 2019, luckily before the pandemic, there I was amazed by the amount of PC Bangs (PC rooms) around the country, we normally call it an internet cafe. In almost every corner you turn in Seoul, you would find another PC Bang, it only costs 1$ per hour. This is one of the reasons why South Korea is one of the leading nations within esports.
The long-term ambition in my head is that one day I can move to South Korea to work in the esports industry.
Enough about my background, let’s get to what I am actually doing as an intern at BLAST in the commercial partnerships department. My internship started on Monday, 9th August. I was quite nervous on my first day, meeting new people in an industry I do not have any experience in was very daunting. It was a different experience from my prior working life, when I used to be the boss and now it’s the other way around. It was and still is a new learning experience for me. New systems to work with, new colleagues in both our Danish and London offices.
My first week consisted of 15 meetings, learning about people from different departments and being introduced to some of our brilliant commercial partners like Betway, CS Money, EPOS and others. This gave me a good starting point on how the company works and what kind of projects they were focusing their attentions on at this moment in time – it was a real eye opener for me in getting an inside look at how a leading global esports organisation functions day-to-day. Everyone took time out of their busy schedule to answer my curious questions and things I didn’t understand. I was positively surprised everyone was so relaxed and took the time to have a chat about things I didn’t understand.
This is how my first week went – gone in a flash!
The next couple of weeks I started to get small assignments and joint meetings with our current partners. It was nice to start getting independent assignments to show that I could contribute on my own despite my limited time in the company. I helped support social media giveaways for our Fall Groups, and was tasked with brainstorming ideas for future content pieces with current and prospective partners. In July we hosted an Apex Titans event called BLAST Titans. I had the task of creating a report for some of our global partners. During this process I was dealing with a lot of numbers: viewership stats, tweets, logo exposures etc. I was surprised and amazed at the sheer reach esports events like this could achieve for partners – this exercise really highlighted to me how big the industry had become in recent years and why so many brands and publishers were looking to partner with companies like BLAST.
It made me realise when doing these various projects, there are so many sides to it; you have to keep the partners happy, the ideas have to be realistic, deadlines met, stay within budget, manage schedules for everyone involved among many other considerations. There have been many questions swirling around in my head as my first month working at BLAST comes to a close. Do esports partners have different requirements than mainstream sport partners? Do you have to be high tech focused when working within esports? Is it a gamers’ world? Or is there room for a non-gamer like me?
That’s what I am here to find out in the next few months. Since it’s only my first month with BLAST. I look forward to the rest of my internship, and of course there will be a follow up on how I am doing here. Every month there will be a new update on my journey with BLAST.
Until next time, party on BLASTers …
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