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Third Annual Esports Summit Features Speakers, Workshops and Collegiate Tournament

esports summit lineup

By Elizabeth L. Brown

TAMPA (January 31, 2022) – Competitive video gaming fanatics can see their favorite collegiate teams face off in a live esports tournament at the Third Annual USF Esports Summit set for Feb. 3 at the USF Marshall Student Center.

The summit, hosted by the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management program at the USF Muma College of Business, brings together the top esports industry leaders and experts in a day of keynote presentations and panel discussions that take an inside look at the $1 billion global esports market.

This year’s event features a star-studded lineup of speakers including an executive at the world’s top mobile gaming organization, the esports assistant for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and a competitive gamer with expertise in branding and design.

To bring some live-action gaming excitement to the one-day summit, organizers have scheduled the finals of a collegiate esports Rocket League tournament for 6 p.m. The final four teams who will play for bragging rights are the University South Florida, Florida State University, the University of Florida, and the University of Central Florida.

“What’s exciting this year is that participants can watch a live esports tournament play out, while also learning about the business side of esports,” said Michelle Harrolle, director of the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management program. “We have lined up some amazing speakers who will share their insights on the high-growth industry that has exploded.” 

esports summit lineup

The summit’s keynote speaker is Jeremiah Woodward, the content creator and esports assistant for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Woodward is a 23-year-old content creator who has over 100,000 subscribers on YouTube and 30,000 followers on Twitch, dubbing his community the “Pineapple Family.” Woodward also works as a digital content coordinator with the Lightning, where he creates content and runs its YouTube channel.

esports summit lineup

Jordan Bellar is vice president of partnerships for Tribe Gaming, the world’s leading mobile gaming organization. Bellar is a USF alumnus, having earned an MBA and a master’s degree from the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program. At Tribe Gaming, Bellar is responsible for developing and maintaining innovative partnerships with world-class brands. Prior to joining Tribe, he held partnership development roles with G2 Esports and Harris-Blitzer Sports & Entertainment.

esports summit lineup

Derek Watford is co-founder of High Point Gamer. Watford provides esports consulting for forwarding thinking gamers, brands, and organizations. He is a competitive gamer with over 20 years of branding and design experience. In 2017, he produced over 30 esports events, some with globally recognized athletes such as, Hall-of-Famer Tracy McGrady, NBA Champ Marreese Speights, 2x Pro Bowler Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and WNBA Champ Candice Dupree. Watford started the STIX-to-GLORY Scholarship Gaming Tournament, which was the first scholarship gaming tournament of its kind in Pinellas County.

For more details about the summit, including a full schedule of events, go here. Registration for the conference costs $79, but students can attend for free the code SSD2022. To register, go here. To see the list of speakers and read their bios, go here.