Wellstar Chamber Luncheon Series: Esports Industry Impact, with Todd Harris, Skillshot Media and Brennen Dicker, Creative Media Industries Institute at GSU (GNFCC 400 Insider, Episode 57)
Metro Atlanta–and North Fulton specifically–are home to a thriving esports industry, and all the necessary ingredients are in place for continued growth, according to panelists speaking at this GNFCC Wellstar Chamber Luncheon series. Todd Harris, founder of Skillshot Media, and Brennen Dicker of Creative Media Industries Institute, joined moderator Asante Bradford, Georgia Department of Economic Development, to discuss the dynamics of the region’s esports industry and why its future is bright.
The host of “The GNFCC 400 Insider” is GNFCC CEO Kali Boatright, and the show is presented by the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce and produced by the North Fulton studio of Business RadioX®. John Ray and North Fulton Business RadioX served as the media sponsor for this event.
Asante Bradford, Moderator
Asante Bradford is Project Manager for Digital Entertainment and Emerging Media for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the sales, and marketing arm for the State of Georgia.
The Global Commerce Division conducts extensive business development, sales, marketing, and promotional activities in order to attract entertainment projects and businesses to the state. The division’s team also assists the local, national and international entertainment industries with information, expertise, and resources.
Asante helps promote the growth of the digital media industry as well as identify initiatives that will help grow businesses for the state of Georgia in interactive entertainment and eSports. He also helps educate potential prospects and provides clients with information about the Georgia Entertainment Industry Incentives Act.
His area of concentration with the Global Commerce office is to increase the impact of interactive entertainment for the State of Georgia as well as being a dedicated liaison to assist with promotions, logistics, and business development for attracting digital media companies outside the state to relocate in Georgia.
Esports is becoming an economic driver for Atlanta with Fortune 500 companies, a thriving tech center, film, TV, and videogame tax incentives all play into the mix. Georgia esports is also a sanctioned activity at the local high school level with a focus on STEM exposure.
Todd Harris, Founder and CEO of Skillshot Media
Todd Harris (@toddalanharris) is an accomplished entrepreneur who has been leading video game and esports businesses for 15 years and involved with technology product startups for 25 years. Todd co-founded Hi-Rez Studios, one of the largest video game studios in the Southeast and is currently Founder & CEO of Skillshot Media, a leading esports infrastructure and production company, President of the North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), and co-owner of esports professional team Ghost Gaming.
Skillshot connects leading brands to engaged esports fans. The company has hosted thousands of esports tournaments, paid out over $10M in prizing for competitive video games, and delivered over 1 billion views of esports content. Skillshot also powers the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) competition with member universities awarding over $16M in esports scholarships.
Ghost Gaming is an Atlanta-based professional esports team and gaming lifestyle brand that has won 13 tournament championships and cultivated a fan base of over 5 million.
NASEF is the leading scholastic esports solution for high school students, providing opportunities for all students to use esports as a platform to acquire critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills.
Throughout his career, Todd has garnered industry recognition including “2019 Most Admired CEO” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as he works with partners toward advancing the esports industry.
Brennen Dicker, Executive Director, Creative Media Industries Institute
Brennen Dicker, a film and television professional with 25 years of experience, is Executive Director of the Creative Media Industries Institute at Georgia State University. Before joining Georgia State, Brennen was the General Manager for SIM International (Post) Atlanta. SIM provides production and post-production services for many episodic television series and feature film productions, including; “Stranger Things”, “Watchmen”, “The Gifted”, “Dynasty”, “Good Girls”, “True Detective” S3, as well as the blockbuster “Get Out”.
Brennen previously served as Director of Post Production Sales at Crawford Media Services, has broad experience in all aspects of film and television production, and deep ties to Atlanta’s production community. He worked with networks – National Geographic, HGTV, and Discovery and also with series “The Walking Dead” and “Vampire Diaries” while at Crawford. Earlier in his career, he was executive producer and principal of American Mongrel Productions (Chicago). He was the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship Recipient in 2001, and 2018 inaugural Women in Film and Television ( WIFTA – Atlanta) Gallantry Award winner.
Brennen is a current member of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Screen Coalition Committee and is on the board for the Atlanta Esports Association (AEA). He chairs the CMII Working Group which is comprised of leaders in film, television, gaming, and music for the state of Georgia. He also serves on the Board of Directors for The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.
He has served as Chair of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Atlanta Advisory Council, and as Chair of Gov. Relations with the Georgia Production Partnership (GPP) board, and was the Chair for the 2018 and 2019 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. He has also served on the board as Vice Chair for The Frazer Center and served on the Executive Board for the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce.
About GNFCC and “The GNFCC 400 Insider”
“The GNFCC 400 Insider” is presented by the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce (GNFCC) and is hosted by Kali Boatright, President and CEO of GNFCC. The Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce is a private, non-profit, member-driven organization comprised of over 1400 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals. Their service area includes Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, Roswell and Sandy Springs. GNFCC is the leading voice on economic development, business growth and quality of life issues in North Fulton County.
The GNFCC promotes the interests of our members by assuming a leadership role in making North Fulton an excellent place to work, live, play and stay. They provide one voice for all local businesses to influence decision makers, recommend legislation, and protect the valuable resources that make North Fulton a popular place to live.
For more information on GNFCC and its North Fulton County service area, follow this link or call (770) 993-8806. For more information on other GNFCC events such as this North Fulton Mayors Appreciation Lunch, follow this link.