IEM Rio CS:GO Major 2022 - psst, it was record breaking

I joined ESL midway in September 2022 and in 56 days I took full ownership of one of the biggest esports event in history for ESL Shop and achieved company record sales in merchandise. I spent three weeks in Rio, Brazil and officially completed my very first international esports event. 


So how did I (we) do it?

  • Led and managed 100+ staff members and three ESL Shop booths across two unique locations, Riocentro and Jeunesse Arena
  • Partnered with local teams and 20+ tier one esports teams to ensure ESL Shop and partners could operate and sell merch in Brazil - leading and agreeing on business critical decisions, revenue and selling exclusive merchandise
  • Acted as ESL Shop POC for multiple partners, internal cross-functional teams, local project managers, booth build companies and manufacturing suppliers
  • 10+ partner activations on-site in collaboration with Kolex, Intel, DHL, Team Liquid,  FURIA, Fallenwear, FaZe Clan and influencer shopping sprees with social media marketing
  • Displayed over 150 unique products with over 25k items in total: apparel, accessories & collectibles across ESL and Teams brands
  • Introduced a Brazilian themed Rio Major event exclusive jersey, sold-out in two days and worn on-stage by World vs Brazil pro players on the final day. Seen by millions of fans around the world
  • Kolex Rio Major Edition Collectiblesan ESL partner, launched exclusively with their own dedicated section in ESL Shop
  • Created and managed event exclusive goodie bags for over 165 pro Counter-Strike, 24 casters, interviewers, hosts and 15+ partners
  • Marketing ESL Shop and Kolex on-site with banners, product catalogues and TV production via ESLCS Twitch stream throughout the event

ESL x Champion

Counter-Strike fans have been shouting for a staple piece at IEM (Intel Extreme Masters) events around the world for years. We wanted to create a limited edition collection that goes beyond our existing offerings, resonating with the audience and allowing players to show-off their love for ESL and Counter-Strike 365 days a year.

So, multiple teams and I worked together for 6+ months to create a five piece hoodie collection that represents each role that you play in Counter-Strike. As a collective we decided that Champion would be the apparel company we wanted to collaborate with, knowing the influence the brand has in sports and youth culture and using their products first hand for years.

The deets:

  • Go-to-market strategy: led and helped with ideating, planning and executing in collaboration with senior level and cross-functional teams
  • Influencer marketingcollaborated with tier one international esports Counter-Strike pro players and commentators to promote the collection on social media and at IEM Cologne 2023
  • Landing page on ESL Shop's website with a "pick your role" quiz to help choose the best edition and improve engagement both online and in-store
  • Cross-promo with subsidiary brand FACEIT, to offer one month free of FACEIT Premium
  • Video content: product trailer to showcase all five hoodies and voice over explaining each role
  • Social media: posted on @ESLShop Twitter account and retweets by @ESLCS and pro players
  • Product details: bespoke icons and colours that we felt represents each role and are recogniseable both in-game and out
  • Product details - part two: backprint is inspired by an in-game map called “Dust II” - one of the most iconic maps in Counter-Strike history
  • Product details - part threeThe number located bottom right backprint is the set of numbers on the bomb in-game

IEM Katowice 2023

Katowice, Poland was my second international event with ESL. Though IEM Rio went down in the history books, there was still a lot to learn and improve. I wanted to do more for the fans and offer new products for men, women and children. The team and I ramped up marketing activations with influencers, improved branding that was localised, introduced HLTV merch and a new hand warmer, event exclusive merch collection and sold Counter-Strike inspired coins for the first time.

What changed?

  • Increased revenue by over 130% YoY
  • New product "Warmly" sold out in one day, led to long term partnership discussions (see below)
  • First ever HLTV merch at an live event including an IEM Kato limited edition range for men, women and kids
  • Partner activations in collaboration with Intel, DHL, Kolex and influencer marketing with James Banks, Ohne Pixel and Heccu
  • New ESL Shop Commercial and photoshoot launch on-site and across Twitch and YouTube
  • Led and managed 3 ESL Shop booths and 50+ staff simultaneously for the first-time at an IEM event, strategically placed and split two jersey bars and one retail pop-up shop

ESL x Warmly

If you're a gamer, I know your hands get cold when you're playing your favourite game in the evening. Say hello to Warmly, a hand warmer that does what it says on the tin - warms your hands. If you're like me and like to explore the great outdoors as well, it can also keep you warm and charge your device - what a bargain!

The story:

Warmly was bought to my attention by an ESL colleague in December 2022 as they were trialling hand warmers for Counter-Strike pro players for IEM Katowice 2023. Within 30 days, I proactively reached out to Philip, the co-founder of Warmly and we struck a deal to sell the standard version at Katowice. We negotiated purchase cost, retail price, delivery, quantities and legal. 

Warmly sold out in two days of IEM Katowice opening. Soon after the event was finished, I negotiated with Warmly to become an exclusive partner to ESL and we created an ESL x Warmly edition. Six months later and ESL x Warmly became available for the first time at IEM Cologne 2023.

I developed and executed the strategy for ESL x Warmly, leading on end-to-end planning, negotiating, designing and executing, collaborated with product managers, marketing, influencers, warehouse, legal and TV production to showcase the product on Twitch and YouTube, social media, product trailer and landing page  - acted as Warmly's partner manager for ESL Shop.

Additional Work