Chicago Esports Spotlight: Kevin O’Brien, COO of GGLeagues
Written By: Hauk Nelson
In Chicago Esports Spotlight, KemperLesnik interviews a leader of the Chicago esports community. This issue features Kevin O’Brien, Co-Founder and COO of GGLeagues, a competitive platform for esports players of all skill levels. Our first follow-up, we learn about how GGLeagues has developed since our chat with CEO Erich Bao.
Hi Kevin! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. Tell us more about yourself and GGLeagues.
Thanks for having me!
My name is Kevin O’Brien and I am the COO and co-founder of GGLeagues. I currently live in Chicago, IL but was born in Delaware. In my spare time, you might find me playing Valorant, Rocket League, or Fall Guys.
GGLeagues, a Chicago startup, is building the foundation for recreational esports and provides a full service solution to bring gaming leagues and tournaments to communities.
What inspired you to join Erich Bao and the GGLeagues team?
What inspired me to join Erich Bao and the GGLeagues team was the mission of the company. GGLeagues has always been set on creating a more inclusive environment for the gaming community and that is something that is desperately needed. My passion is for building communities and creating a space where people feel they can come together.
Would you mind sharing more about your background? What led you to esports and what kind of work were you doing previously?
My journey started in the hospitality industry. I went to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and from there, worked in prestigious restaurants in New York, Florida, and Illinois.. My goal was to start my own company which led me to go to DePaul University to get a degree in finance. During my time at DePaul University, I fell in love with the esports industry.
I started the Esports Student Leadership Board at DePaul University with one goal in mind: To raise awareness of the esports and gaming industry so students can become the next generation of industry leaders. My goal was not to create the next professional team, but to allow every student the opportunity to learn about how they can apply their degree to the gaming and esports industry.
What has GGLeagues been up to lately? Any new projects?
Over the past six months, we have been working more with park districts and cities across the country to bring leagues and tournaments to their communities. With youth sports being cancelled and remote learning on the rise due to COVID-19, we have seen a real need for more virtual community engagement.
Something we are extremely excited about is that we are launching the first national esports rec leagues for both youth and adults.
What this means is that ANY company that would like to engage with their communities through gaming can do so using the GGLeagues platform. Similar to an intramural kickball league, we believe esports can provide after-work camaraderie. GGLeagues provides the opportunity for organizations to join other organizations in state-wide leagues or have the ability to run private leagues.
We’ve seen a lot of investment into esports lately. What has it been like to raise an investment round when esports is getting plenty of attention?
That is exactly right. There have been a TON of investments into the esports industry recently. For us, it is not just about finding an investor – but finding the right group of strategic partners. We not only would like to find strategic partners that can lend insight into our business as we grow, but for GGLeagues to be able to provide value to the strategic partners we bring on.
Thanks for taking the time, Kevin! Be sure to support Chicago Esports and visit GGLeagues here.