We’re taking GamesBeat Summit Digital into a digital online-only format. And now we’re happy to welcome our next round of speakers. Register now for a chance to see Mark Chang of Intel, Ari Segal of Immortals, Joe Barnes of Anheuser-Busch, and Grace Dolan of Samsung talk about what’s next for esports in the wake of the pandemic with Dean Takahashi of GamesBeat moderating the session.

We’ve added these speakers to the updated agenda, posted below, for the event which will air on April 28 and April 29 as a virtual conference. If you are interested in attending GamesBeat Summit online, please sign up here.

After careful thought about the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, we decided not to use centralized studios or physical locations. But we think we can serve our GamesBeat community well with a fully distributed, digital event.

The health and safety of our GamesBeat community, attendees, employees, and sponsors remains our top priority. In this digital event, attendees can watch livestreamed and recorded talks, take part in online networking sessions and digital roundtables, access our gaming partners virtually, and more.

And now unveiling our next session:

The mainstreaming of esports

OGN's brand new esports arena in Manhattan Beach, California, is now available for sublease.

Above: OGN’s brand new esports arena in Manhattan Beach, California, is now available for sublease.

Image Credit: OGN

The panel features Mark Chang, director of gaming and esports of Intel; Immortals CEO Ari Segal; Joe Barnes, director of sports marketing for Bud Light at Anheuser-Busch; and Grace Dolan, vice president of home entertainment marketing at Samsung Electronics America, moderated by Dean Takahashi, lead writer for GamesBeat.

Esports events have been dealt a setback by the pandemic. But digital events are still going strong, and more eyeballs are watching online than ever. We’ll have a panel look at the future of esports when it comes to going mainstream. Will television programming of esports, with big brand support, become a bigger thing as we transition to a more digital world? Will the digital version of esports still make progress without a physical side to add excitement? And just what happens next for esports.

There’s peril and opportunity here. It’s not a good time to be tied to an esports venue. For instance, OGN made its brand new esports facility in Manhattan Beach, California available for a sublease. On the other hand, it’s good to have an online-only product related to esports, as the category is taking off. Meanwhile, companies such as 2K are cutting deals to put NBA 2K games — played by NBA stars like Kevin Durant — on sports TV channels.

Mark Chang

Above: Mark Chang, director of gaming and esports at Intel

Mark Chang is the director of gaming and esports at Intel Corporation. He has over 20 years of experience in sales and marketing with a focus on gaming, esports, and entertainment.

He built Intel’s gaming marketing strategy from the ground up. As the global head of gaming marketing he led all esports initiatives and partnerships with ESL with Intel Extreme Masters, Activision Blizzard with Overwatch League, Intel World Open in conjunction with the IOC, and many others.

Ari Segal

Above: Ari Segal, CEO of Immortals Gaming Club

Ari Segal is the CEO of Immortals Gaming Club (IGC), a global esports and gaming company backed by strategic investors including AEG, Meg Whitman, Lionsgate, the Milken Family, and Steve Kaplan. IGC has pioneered a “family of brands” approach to team operations in esports and operates four leading brands in premier esports titles including League of Legends, CS:GO, Overwatch, and Call of Duty, among others. IGC also owns and operates Gamers Club, the largest matchmaking platform in Latin America and third largest globally.

Prior to joining IGC, Segal served as COO for the Arizona Coyotes (NHL) where he led the club to its highest ever single-season ticket sales and total revenue. He was also Special Assistant to the CEO of the Anaheim Ducks (NHL) and led the launch of the San Diego Gulls, the Ducks’ AHL affiliate, where he served as the Gulls’ first President of Business Operations. Following their inaugural season, the Gulls were awarded the AHL President’s Award for Business Excellence.

I spoke with Segal recently for a story on esports companies pivoting to digital.

Joe Barnes

Above: Joe Barnes, director of Bud Light esports marketing

Joe Barnes is the director of Bud Light sports marketing at Anheuser-Busch. In his role, Joe oversees marketing efforts behind the NFL, NHL, NCAA, Soccer, and E-Sports partnerships. Joe is a graduate of Indiana University and has worked at Anheuser-Busch InBev for 6 years across sales, finance, and marketing.

Grace Dolan

Above: Grace Dolan vice president of home entertainment marketing at Samsung

Image Credit: Samsung

Grace Dolan is the Vice President of Home Entertainment Marketing at Samsung Electronics America, where she leads Consumer and Retail Marketing for the TV, Audio, and Memory businesses. In this role, Grace has led an innovative Passions strategy for the US business, redefining the brand’s purpose to lead through service to the Fan. She has elevated Samsung’s efforts to deliver the ultimate home experience to gamers, streamers and sports fans, delivering category-leading advertising, first-of-its-kind partnerships with brands like Xbox, Netflix and ESPN, and an advanced innovation roadmap. All of these have helped to drive double-digit growth in brand health measures with Samsung’s Fan audience.

Prior to Samsung, Grace spent 9 years in Brand Management at Johnson & Johnson, where she drove the growth of iconic brands like Aveeno, Listerine and Johnson’s Baby.

In January, I moderated a session with Dolan at CES on how brands are pursuing millennials in esports and gaming. That seems like ages ago.

Event details

GamesBeat Summit Digital will provide the same great content and create digital networking experiences, all available remotely. We’ve very grateful that the overwhelming number of our speakers (which we originally recruited for our physical event) and our sponsors have stayed with us. We hope to live up to their belief in us with our talks around the theme of Dawn of the Next Generation.

We will continue to be proactive in our communication and will follow up with more information about technology platforms and logistics in the coming days. It looks like we’re heading toward an even larger even with about 115 speakers. The schedule is still subject to change. Here’s the agenda.