As the popularity of esports increases every day, more and more people are interested in a career in esports. However, finding a job in esports can be very difficult as many get confused about where they should start and how they should prepare. The need for people with diverse talents increases as the industry continues to grow, but knowing how to get into the industry is really difficult.
For those considering a future career in esports, at Inven we have prepared a series of interviews with people in the scene, essentially introducing the different jobs in esports. From how they found their jobs, to what they needed to prepare to get those jobs, to the details of their jobs, we got to hear their stories from their past and present. We hope this series of interviews helps those looking for a potential career in esports.
Meet T1’s Hyeong-jun Park, our second “Meet the esports insiders” interviewee. He works as a business development manager for one of the biggest esports organizations in the world, T1. His main responsibility is to create revenue models so that T1 continues to work with the best players around the world.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello, my name is Hyeong-jun Park and I am a Business Development Manager at T1. I oversee new projects within T1 such as the T1 esports academy and T1 membership program, as well as streaming sponsorships.
Can you tell us how you got into esports?
I have loved games since I was a child. I was a huge StarCraft fan growing up, and after high school I played League of Legends a lot, to the point where it felt a little too much. My League high was Diamond 2, and I even won a tournament in college with some friends. I think that’s how I naturally joined LCK.
During the era of “Korean supremacy” in League of Legends, I really wanted to join T1 and work with the best players in the world, and help keep them the best. Since I was young, I wanted to work in a field where I could contribute to the advancement of my country, and I happened to be a fan of SKT T1.
Around the time T1 emerged from obscurity as a corporate-affiliated team and became its own entity through a joint venture with Comcast, I wanted to play my part in keeping Korea the dominant country in the sport. So I joined T1 right after graduating from college.
Tell us about some of your responsibilities at T1.
In 2020, I oversaw streaming platform contracts and stream sponsorships, and signed Lim “BoxeR” Yo-hwan and Lee “Wolf” Jae-wan as streamers under T1. Then I took the title of Business Development Manager in T1, and I am currently in charge of overseeing the T1 membership program and the T1 Esports Academy [TEA].
I hope to create long-term business models within T1 to continue working with top T1 players, and help COO Josh Ahn and CEO Joe Marsh realize the vision of T1. In this process, I hope to expand T1’s position within esports and, more importantly, provide the best experience for fans, because without them, we wouldn’t be here right now.
For example, Choi “Zeus” Woo-je, Moon “Oner” Hyeon-joon, and Lee “Gumayusi” Min-hyeong, who have achieved so much in the LCK this division, all went through our “Path to Pro” youth program. . in T1 Academy, so we hope to continue to produce the best talents in the next generations to come.
When it comes to our “Path to Improvement” program, our goal is to provide a space for our fans to gather and cheer on T1, as well as provide entertainment for our fans. We hope to be a step ahead of other esports academies and eventually create a theme park for T1 fans across LoL Park, Jamsil Stadium and other amusement parks.
Tell us what your normal working day looks like.
In order to minimize the risk of our players contracting COVID, I am currently working a lot from home. Besides internal meetings, as well as with our contracted partners, my job is to research the market, strategize and physically do what I need to do to make our plans work. My responsibilities also include working with our team and partners in the creation and execution of our events.
When did you feel most satisfied with your job?
At the start of 2020, one of the first things I did for T1 was to sign BoxeR as a streamer. I remember visiting him and his family to convince him to broadcast and work with T1 again. Not only was he the reason why SKT T1 existed, but he was the pioneer who made esports in Korea seen as a culture that unites a lot of people, so I felt really good bringing him back to T1 .
After that, I helped bring some of the former SKT T1 players back to T1. Wolf as a streamer and Untara, Piglet and Sky as coaches for T1 Academy.
By also bringing Bengi back as a main team coach and even Bang as a streamer, we continue to create a family environment that finds a fresh start in the next chapters of his career. I feel fulfilled when I watch all those people who have shaped T1 throughout the organization’s history interact with each other through activities like hiking, traveling, and even playing StarCraft together, and when the fans love watching them interact.
On the other hand, when does the work seem the most difficult to you?
Due to the nature of my job, my day and night change most of the time. However, I’m a gamer, so I’m used to going to bed late and sleeping during the day.
How did you prepare for this position and its responsibilities?
I really liked League of Legends when I was in college, to the point where I even streamed regularly for a year. I went to see a lot of SKT T1 games live, and even ended up becoming an official bbq OLIVERS supporter. I even went to watch the Worlds final live, which ultimately shaped me to be a fan of esports culture.
Then I worked as an intern for the PUBG International Tournaments for six months in Shanghai and Berlin, and that’s when I thought esports could be a real career path for me. Even in my doctoral thesis, I wrote about the race for the T1 Worlds in 2016.
When I applied to T1, I put all these stories in my resume. I think they really liked my long-standing interest in the esports industry, culture and T1.
Besides the skills in relation to the position itself, the most important was the passion for esports and T1. Also, being bilingual really helped because T1 is a global company.
Can you tell us some of the questions you were asked during your interview? Are there any memorable questions?
The most memorable question was, “Why did you choose T1 as your first job over other big companies?” As I mentioned earlier, my answer was that I wanted to contribute to my country being the best in one of its best areas, and gaming and esports were part of that.
Additionally, I replied that there would be no more meaningful work than working with BoxeR, who pioneered the creation of esports foundations, and Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, who raised the popularity of esports to its peak on a global scale, so I decided to apply for T1 right after graduation.
What advice would you give to our readers looking to follow a similar career path?
Esports is not a field with a good work/life balance. However, if you’re truly into esports, there’s no field that’s more fun to work in. If you decide to enter the industry with a clear goal in mind, I think you will never regret working in esports.