- If you follow 800 of the top people,
and you watch all their stories,
and you watch it for a month, inevitably of that 800,
137 of them will put out some sort of reference
or show you that they're playing video games.
(smooth electronic music)
♪ Yeah ♪
- You got your perspective.
I just wanna be happy, don't you wanna be happy?
- Hey everyone, this is Erin Ashley Simon
from Cheddar esports, and I don't even have to explain,
the man of the hour, Gary Vaynerchuck,
you were here at the first Call of Duty homestand,
and obviously, ROKKRs, they won yesterday.
How is it to see that first win
at the first match of the season.
- You know I've never been in the position I was in
last night, which is,
I've been such hardcore sports fan my whole life,
but to actually be an owner,
I was wildly nervous.
- Yeah. - You know,
I actually, right before the match started I was like,
man I wish we didn't have the first homestand,
because I don't mind losing, I really don't,
it's a process,
but with all the build up, and your home,
to lose your home opener,
you know listen I'm in the space now,
the Gorillas had a lot of
I think they have a good organization,
but there's definitely been a lot of chatter on social,
like they're disorganized, they're not practicing enough,
and then they get off to that hot start,
and I'm like, okay this is really bad.
And you know, I love boxing. - Yeah.
And I'm always affected
by when the kid goes back to their hometown
and lose the fight in their hometown.
- It's like this moment in boxing that I think a lot about,
and so when we were down 2-0,
before they got disqualified and made it 1-1,
I was like,
I don't know if we can curse on Chatter
but I was like, son of a gun,
we're gonna be that boxer that loses in their hometown.
So, how does it feel?
To be frank, and transparent,
Exciting, but way more importantly than that,
that's just my competitive DNA,
in the macro,
the fact that I'm gonna watch this video of you and I,
39 years from now,
and be like,
my God, look at the humble beginnings of this league,
that now is selling 150,000 tickets in a minute
to the world, to the championship match,
I already know that's been written.
- History is always being written.
So, in addition to that,
we find out yesterday about the partnership deal
with Google and YouTube,
and this was a kind of like a shocker
to many of the gamers,
because obviously Twitch
is the leading streaming platform right now,
and now we're starting to see the likes of Facebook Gaming,
and YouTube, and even Mixer
coming into the whole streaming battles.
And as someone who has capitalized
and elevated, in terms of content on YouTube,
how do you see this partnership
elevating not only the Call of Duty league,
but then also I guess YouTube as a platform
competing with the likes of a like a Twitch.
- I think it's a great question.
Obviously with Overwatch, and other,
Ninja as a personality,
I think for the hardcore gaming community
no question Twitch,
and I'm an enormous Twitch fan,
is an incredible platform,
and it was obviously very much in the mix
as the home for the streaming.
To me if you're paying attention even a little bit,
I'm sure for you,
I mean you're setting the broad question to the audience,
but it wasn't a shock.
If you're even a little in
those were probably the two places you woulda guessed
it could've ended up on, right.
So, how do I think about it?
I think if you're the hardest core
and you've grown up in the last five to seven years,
in esports there's probably a little bit a part of you
that's saying, oh it should be on Twitch.
If you're an entrepreneur
and you're in it, you're saying to yourself,
okay YouTube is so broad
if it's making this real investment,
it's going to do things that broadens the audience.
There are going to be millions of people
who have no idea what Call of Duty, esports,
or any of this is,
that are gonna stumble on this content
on YouTube in the next year,
that is gonna build awareness.
I was not involved in any of the negotiations,
I myself, you found out as soon as I did,
I knew what was going on,
but I'm speaking like a social commentator,
I always go with broad.
Even when I do my stuff,
I'm always thinking about,
the first time I ever decided to do a television show,
it was for Apple's show with Planet of the Apps,
even though it stayed within Apple Music, it was Apple.
The potential for global broad was there.
I always go broad.
Especially when something's new,
the exposure matters.
Twitch is the spot, gamers know how to find that.
Karen, in Iowa,
or Alberta, or Shanghai,
probably not Carol there. - (laughs)
- Is gonna stumble on this platform through YouTube
more likely than Twitch, at this point.
Not to undermine what I think Twitch can,
and will be coming.
To be very frank,
I expect the Netflixes and the Hulus,
and the wonder media,
if you are an entertainment media conglomerate,
and you are not paying attention to esports streaming,
you are making a humongous mistake.
I was there in Silicon Valley, I was there,
I'm going through it in sports cards,
I'm very passionate about sports cards right now,
the OGs of anything,
even though I was more OG than those OGs in sports cards,
'cause I it did as a kid,
they're always scared like a new band.
You know how you follow a band,
and then they get big,
- Yeah. - and you get mad.
Because they sold out.
No, they're just going through the progression.
I think what you'll see is
the hardest core fans of this sport
will realize how good of a deal this,
'cause it's gonna rise everything
and make it better in a lot of ways.
while I know if you're a hippy you're,
in the streets,
you're always mad at anything that scales up.
But, how do I think it's gonna impact it?
I think it's gonna make more esports fans,
which I think will trickle down to impact everybody
in a positive way, period, end of story.
- Yeah I mean some of the conversations
that I have with people is that,
yeah YouTube in terms of its gaming interface,
it's not quite appealing towards certain gamers yet,
but it's a easier user interface for
the Karens of the worlds, the Joshes,
that kind of stumble upon the content.
- Kama, it's a technology company
that can build the technology
that will make it the best for the hardcore gamers,
and let toggling happen between slaughterpants63
aka the hardcore fan can get what they want,
the broad market can get what they want,
and I think it's exactly right.
What it needs to do to make the experience better
for the hardcore gamers,
is a lot easier than it is for Twitch
to have a trillion people on the platform tomorrow.
- Yes indeed.
So, let's talk about growth overall right,
obviously esports is growing,
I've watched videos of you talking about
the investment, specifically why you invested within ROKKR
and the Call of Duty pro league verses other leagues.
In terms of just,
you're someone who doesn't get into something
unless you're really into it,
you're really researching et cetera.
From an investment standpoint,
the financial evaluation of esports,
in terms of return on investment,
isn't quite there yet, right. - Right.
- When do you feel like it will get to a certain point,
in terms of its trajectory,
to the point where you may see value,
well not necessarily see value,
but you may be able to get enough profit and return,
or you can then go buy The Jets.
Do you see that it'll get to the point where
the financial evaluation from esports leagues, or teams,
will actually exceed those of like the NBA,
and the NFL, and et cetera?
- I think there's a potential that may happen.
Now I think there's fragmentation in these sports
that we don't see in the NBA.
Like, basketball's humongous, but there's one NBA.
American Football is humongous, but there's one NFL.
Baseball is humongous, but there's one MLB.
Esports as a whole,
like those video game playing competitively,
is actually gonna be bigger than all three of those things,
but there may be 39 titles and leagues that play out,
which then may create the fact
that they can never get to the value of those leagues.
It's all gonna be on supply and demand.
The reason the NBA,
and the NFL,
and the MLB are where they're at,
is because of the TV rights trickling down.
The streaming rights have to get to such a number
that that could happen,
and so, I can tell you this,
I would be on the ground shocked,
and I can't wait to play these videos in 20 years,
and say that I was wrong,
if these franchises are not valued far greater
than they are right now.
This is a game of
do you understand which game is gonna be Zelda,
and Super Mario,
verses which game is gonna be Kid Icarus,
right or even Mega Man,
aka for video game people,
I had to decide
that I thought that Call of Duty
would be a game that people would play 21 years from now,
verses what happened to Doom.
Got it? - Yeah.
- That's the bet.
9, 11, 12, 13 years ago,
Doom was Fortnite, Doom was Call of Duty,
Doom was League of Legends, Overwatch.
Doom's not winning right now.
If Call of Duty isn't one of the biggest games in 16 years,
this investment will lose.
If it is an evergreen game,
like a Zelda,
and I keep using that 'cause Nintendo helps,
there's been titles that always transfer.
When I was a kid, Kid Icarus, was as big as Mario,
for that six months.
That's the game I keep playing,
is it Mario, is it Kid Icarus.
- The decision I went in to Call of Duty is,
I've decided it's Mario.
I win big if I'm right,
I lose big if I'm, if it's Kid Icarus.
- Well in addition to the fragmentation too,
I think the one thing that we're see in esports as well,
is that obviously they have their hardcore fan base,
but it's the segmenting audiences,
and still appealing to your hardcore fans while,
bringing in new fans in the sense like, for example,
they went over yesterday, in the first matches,
they went over the rules when it comes to Hardpoint
and et cetera,
on the stream you saw certain individuals
who are hardcore fans, they're like,
why are showing us this, we already know,
and so there are various competitive scenes that are--
- You'll appreciate this, you'll appreciate this,
that is such a non event,
I'll explain why. - Okay.
To your point, there needs to be,
we have such great,
this is not television.
In 1984 that would have been the case.
We as a league, the platforms as platforms,
have to realize, let's create an AB telecast.
I mean I feel the same way about American football.
I really know football,
so when they're going through,
it's why Tony Romo was exploding on the scene to everybody,
he's going deeper.
And he's like, how does he know?
But I knew that stuff,
'cause I watched a lot of football.
But when my dad got into it 15 years ago, I'm like,
this is a punt.
And so to the hardcore fans, they're right.
We need, I think we should argue
that we should have a hardcore, and a casual broadcast.
And the hardcore fans should not see the rules,
the hardcore fans should get into the subtleties of,
why the skin is gonna come out tomorrow,
or the patch came out,
or the backstory of a new player,
or a documentary of Hector going from OpTic to,
you know Huntsman.
Yeah I'm with you,
and think technology let's us do that,
where as television did not.
- I also think that,
part of that too is the cultural component as well.
I love Ninja, and I love that he's building his platform.
He made a comment about Drake ,as an artist,
making gaming cool.
He's definitely helped make it cool now,
but I also think there's this historical
and cultural component to it
where the likes of the Wu-Tang Clan,
and Def Jam: Fight for New York
and that whole series,
and even people like Lupe Fiasco
that was very much involved in the scene,
and I feel like there is a closer component--
- Well you're just awesome.
You're being really smart right now.
I'm sorry to interrupt you but I'm--
- No, you're (laughs). - I appreciate
what you're saying, you're right.
I mean I would never forget
when I don't remember who it was,
but to your point,
in 2003 or 4, I saw a top 15 rapper
wear a Super Mario hoodie,
and that was like, I was like, what!
To your point,
yeah I mean when you think about Mortal Combat,
Wu-Tang, like things to that nature,
yes I think you're right,
and I think for Ninja he's such a young kid,
Tyler's such a young kid.
You know look, that was such a moment.
- It was.
- It will always be a moment.
I had been watching this,
I mean when Justin.tv became Twitch I was paying attention.
It was like, okay.
But no question, I...
When Ashton Kutcher joined Twitter,
and said he would race CNN to a million followers,
I had been on Twitter for years,
it was when I talking about Twitter has made it...
DJ Khaled on the water, thing--
- It was a Jet Ski. - The Jet Ski,
thank you DRock,
on Snapchat that was the next hour, or day,
when I made my first content of Snapchat's here now,
even though I had been paying attention
for 18 months, heavily.
When Drake went on that screen,
the next day I made my piece of content saying like,
esports is in a different place now.
Fortinte's in a different place now.
Ninja's in a different place now,
even though I'd been watching that space for a long time.
I think that's right, but to your point,
it's always been there in different ways.
- So how is it that we can kind of convey that message,
or add that culture component, and the historical component,
'cause there's a lot of kids that don't,
they see Ninja and they know Ninja,
but they don't know some of the backstories of some of the--
- I think you'll appreciate this, I like where you're going.
I think that plays out.
- Okay. - You know like,
this video's gonna run,
and people are gonna leave comments of like,
well what about when this person
mentioned Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! in 1998?
In 1988, excuse me, in hip hop,
and then some kid's gonna read that and be like,
oh this really has been around that long, you understand?
I think a lot of times when one's passionate about something
they get anxious to make sure people know,
and I always tell people the truth wins.
You just gotta give it time to breathe.
- Yeah, definitely,
I mean that's something I've been trying to do,
is integrating that culture component
and bringing artists on to Cheddar esports
that are passionate about this,
you know they don't even know about--
I mean you know this,
if you go and follow 700 people that are cool,
let's just use the word culture, or cool,
whether it's hip hop, whether it's athletes,
whether it's EDM, let's go different spaces,
whether it's skateboarding,
surfers, they'll look very different than
south side Atlanta hip hop artists,
but play them all out.
If you follow 800 of the top people,
people that are,
let's just use Instagram as the current establishment
that are crushing on that.
Including women, like Emma Chamberlain
or things that nature,
if you follow all that,
and you watch all their stories,
and you watch it for a month,
inevitably of that 800,
137 of them will put out some sort of reference,
or show you that they're playing video games.
So it's already happened.
- It's already happened.
I can't wait for homestands next year,
because this year things were rushed,
as they should be in a new league,
our streaming deal just got done,
the league is getting used to it,
us team owners are getting used to it,
we're gonna have our stuff together for next year,
and I promise next year's homestands
are gonna have 50 to 500 people, in the world,
at these events, and people are gonna know,
'cause it already happened.
- Yeah, I mean also with the new homestand concept,
that's something that is new especially, even for esports,
and we're seeing how traditional sports is kind of
bringing some structure and formatting into this scene,
and I wanna make a little bit of a switch 'cause--
- Please. - 'Cause,
you're very big on TikTok - Yes (laughs)
- Then TikTok obviously with the news
that they're gonna be getting into gaming
with their game studio.
What are your thoughts on that?
It's cultural culture.
Right? - Yeah.
- TikTok has the attention of
an enormous amount of 8 to 28 year olds right now.
And I'm not in Minnesota
wearing this ROKKR christmas sweater for my health,
this is a unbelievable pillar of culture to the day I die.
And so, I view that as rising both boats.
It'll be good for esports, it'll be good for TikTok.
- Simple enough.
- Simple enough. - And then,
in addition to that,
with your investments in the Call of Duty league,
are you also potentially looking at mobile gaming?
'Cause I know in an interview you were saying,
especially when it comes to demographic in the U.S.
You own it, you're learning more about China
and some of the other markets overseas,
mobile gaming is something that's massive over,
especially in South Korea,
and China. - I'm super aware.
- Yeah so,
but it's something that's starting to grow
and blossom here in the United States
on a competitive component.
- And is quite large to begin with.
- Yeah. - Like when you
start throwing in certain games into the mix,
the numbers are staggering in the U.S.
I mean look, this is just, this is how I roll.
All of this is oxygen to me.
My oxygen as a human is,
I want to know what people are doing.
And then sometimes I get involved
'cause it's noble and important to me,
sometimes I get involved as a consumer of it,
but because of my DNA,
an enormous amount of times
I get involved as an entrepreneur
'cause I enjoy it, I enjoy the sport of business,
and so of course.
Especially when you look at the female demographics,
when you look at the lack of barrier entry into it.
I look at it all the time.
I spent an uncomfortable amount of time
paying attention to Candy Crush,
to Angry Birds,
I analyzed hundreds, nah that's not fair,
tens of hours of what people were doing.
Not watching people play it,
watching what people are saying about it,
why did they like FarmVille.
If you go read my book, The Thank You Economy in 2010,
I talk about virtual currency,
that people will spend real life money
on things that are digital in essence.
The amount of money kids are spending on 2K
and Madden packs skins.
It happened, it was obvious to me
'cause I already, not 'cause I'm a genius,
because people were already, a little bit,
doing it for power ups then.
- Of course I'm watching, I'm always watching.
- Of course you are.
The last question I actually
is more of an advice that I want to ask.
- So, as someone who is obviously doing broadcasting
in esports and gaming,
for me being in this scene
there's already experts,
there's already casters and commentators,
and one of the things that I've been kind of
paving for myself is,
the intersection of esports gaming in culture.
- Love. - And that's something,
that one I'm passionate about,
I mean used to work in music media,
I used to work in traditional sports,
and so for me,
it's been kind of an interesting journey,
it's a long journey and I know it's challenging
just because of what we've talked about,
where's it's like the segmentation,
where like if it's Call of Duty
they're just are super Call of Duty,
or they're super Overwatch,
but in terms of those cultural conversations,
whether it is diversity inclusion
or if it's whether hip hop and et cetera,
that stuff is actually taking time
in terms of people being interested in the content.
- Do you feel,
you know to me just as a question back to as we're jamming,
I feel that Call of Duty is far more culture orientated
What do you think?
I see far more NBA players, football players, artists,
putting out their Call of Duty content than Overwatch.
- Yes, I do see that.
I think that the Overwatch,
like for that specific game and title,
they have a little bit of...
there's kind of a struggle that they have
in the sense that they are a league
that's pretty much established in the United States,
but they also have a lot of players who are from overseas.
And there's that marketing disconnect
especially when it comes to visualization right,
but even with the conversations of culture,
I think for me it's like,
the one thing I've been trying to figure out,
in the sense is, how do I,
and I've been following your methods,
I'm just putting it out,
but I'm really also trying to figure out
how to go about it--
- Here's how I'd go about it.
Authenticity reversed, create the visual.
What do I mean by that,
authenticity reversed, create the visual.
Instead of trying to bring Call of Duty to DaBaby,
watch if Meg Thee Stallion likes Call of Duty.
Map it, all of it.
Very much the same for me,
I will never reach out to anybody, nor be receptive,
if they aren't interested in entrepreneurship.
But, if they are, then I'm in.
Now what's great about hip hop,
as somebody who loves it,
is that a lot of them have so much entrepreneurial DNA,
because the nature of urban life in the streets
leads to entrepreneurial DNA.
I would, no joke,
if we were just like best friends and doing this together,
and being like we care about this,
I would spend 800 hours trying to figure out
every single person in the culture that likes it,
then reach out to them, then create content around it,
'cause it's authentic.
It's kinda like Wale with wrestling.
I love wrestling, and I want more culture in wrestling,
it has to start with Wale, 'cause he actually love it.
Got it? - I got it.
- I can't go convince Lil Keed
to come to a wrestling match with me.
Do you understand? - Understand.
- Map it, then create the content.
- All right, perfect.
Thank you so much.
- You're welcome, real pleasure.