Popular Content Creator and Gamer Headlines Third Annual USF Esports Summit
By Elizabeth L. Brown
TAMPA (February 3, 2022) – Gaming content creator Jeremiah Woodward, better known as Jpw03 among his more than 100,000 YouTube fans and 30,000 Twitch followers, considers himself a “dorky guy” who is “kind of bad” at video games.
Yet thousands of followers, known as members of his “pineapple family,” tune in to watch him play, either through videos he posts or through live streaming. He said he’d like to see his “pineapple family” reach one million people.
Woodward, who is a content creator with the Tampa Bay Lightning, gave the keynote address on Thursday at the Third Annual USF Esports Summit held at the Marshall Student Center. The 23-year-old’s speech gave a peek into the personal side of the exploding esports industry.
The summit attracted about 100 participants who gathered to learn about the business side of the $1 billion competitive video gaming industry. The summit was hosted by the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management program at the USF Muma College of Business.
During his 45-minute talk, Woodward said he was “not a fan” of video games before he got into gaming. In fact, he was a soccer player. But his brothers got him started playing Minecraft in high school. Soon he met a friend on a gaming server, “bonded over puns,” and posted his first gamer video eight years ago.
Woodward said he believes he amassed such a large following through engagement. He answered every comment and gave nicknames to commenters who kept returning to make them feel appreciated. Over time, his community of followers became known as the “pineapple family.”
“If you’re going to build a community, you have to be genuine. My community has been behind me since A-one day one, really,” said Woodward, who does “anything gaming-related” with the Lightning, which includes creating digital content and running the organization’s YouTube channel.
When people are watching him play video games, he said it’s important to not take the viewers for granted.
“These are real people watching you. It doesn’t matter the amount. That is one person taking the time to watch you,” he said. “I always try to make people feel welcome and to feel how appreciative I am of their time.”
The one-day esports summit concluded with a live Rocket League esports tournament where teams from the University of South Florida, Florida State University, the University of Florida, and the University of Central Florida played for the championship.