43:43 Mins

Ryan Staton on Running an Esports Business the Right Way

August 30, 2017

Ryan is the owner of Ambition Esports which is a North American esports organization. They are a multi-gaming eSports organization and gaming community that was founded originally as a WoW guild and eventually over the years turned to a multi-game community then into a eSports organization run by a group of close friends who have been gaming for most of their lives on various platforms and game types. They compete in Rocket League in the Pro Rivalry League, Nexus, NBC Universal and the RLCS. They also compete in PUBG online for player unknowns battlegrounds.


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Time Stamped Show Notes

  • [1:20] Tell us about yourself and fill in any gaps I left out
    • [1:24] Almost 25 years old and he does pipeline welding inspection for the oil and gas industry
    • [2:30] Ryan was actually just going to keep things as a casual clan but he inherited a CSGO team from an organization and actually took them all the way to premeir
    • [3:25] It wasn’t until they picked up a Rocket League team that Ambition really took off
    • [4:05] Legally they have been a company and been doing this for about 8 months as of today
  • [5:40] What is the current state of Rocket League and PUBG and why are they so exciting right now?
    • [5:42] One of the big disadvantages right now of rocket league is that there is only one main league, the RLCS and it’s really hard to get into
    • [6:25] The european side is just dominating and they have different play styles
    • [7:00] Cloud9 coming into the side is really big for rocket league
    • [8:00] However, rocket league is going to be one of the only esports on TV (NBC) so that is massive for esports as a whole
    • [9:00] When you compare rocket league to pubg, rocket league is more of an esport
    • [9:10] What does rocket league have over pubg?
      • [9:15] Rocket league is extremely entertaining to watch
      • [10:34] Pubg is boring to watch. If you’re watching Dr. Disrespect of Timthetatman you’re watching an entertainer
  • [11:42] What is esports?
    • [11:44] For Ryan it’s all about the entertainment part of it. Esports is highly driven on advertisers and sponsors
  • [15:14] If you had to form your organization all over again what would be the first game you compete in?
    • [15:16] If Ryan had the startup money he would definitely get into counter-strike or call of duty. They both have wide talent pools so they are a little easier to break into, but they are also the more expensive games to break into
    • [15:50] If you have no money then you should get into the game that you know and love playing and you have to make sure the game is popular
  • [16:55] Worst moment in esports?
    • [17:10] Had the chance to pick up a team in a specific game for a very low cost, his gut was telling him that they would be an amazing pickup but decided to play the money game and not get into it right now. That team went Pro in one month.
    • [18:19] What did you learn from that?
      • [18:20] Don’t rely on the numbers so much. There is a point where you just have to go with your gut.
  • [19:04] Biggest accomplishment so far?
    • [20:25] When Ryan picked up Wonder and Primethunder, two of Ambition’s rocket league players
    • [20:34] Ryan says “Air, love you just as much, you’re just not the original two.” 😉
    • [21:05] Ryan shares some advice with other team owners: “The attitude comes before the skill”
  • [22:18] Why is esports so exciting?
    • [22:20] The esports scene is real, there’s opportunity and there’s money and careers to be made
  • [23:44] Where is the opportunity to make money in esports?
    • [24:22] It’s almost like nascar where it’s all sponsorship money and the reality is that there’s not a lot of money made on tournaments unless you’re winning the International or something like that
    • [24:53] Most of the money comes from ad revenue and sponsorships
    • [25:06] It only takes one team to make that organization outstandingly great
  • [25:42] Do you think the current method for financing organizations is sustainable or does the industry need to consider alternatives?
    • [25:53] If you’re a player you need to be on twitch. You can make a living on twitch alone.
    • [26:10] If you’re on the organization side you have merchandise or physical product sales
  • [28:00] 5 Question Combo Breaker
    • [28:05] Best advice someone has ever given you? When you find the team that you click with on a personal level, invest in that team and make them your team
    • [28:30] What does the esports industry need, to grow and continue to be successful? Regulations and restrictions need to be put in place as a whole. There needs to be less toxicity and more professionalism
    • [29:13] Best play you have seen or the most memorable moment in esports? Wonder. No time left on the clock, down by 1 point. He does a kickflip then flips it back upside down to score
    • [30:08] Share a resource that’s been beneficial to you in your career. YouTube “how to run a business”
    • [30:42] What’s one daily habit that’s been the biggest factor for your success? The way Ryan conducts his meetings he says is important. Professional when he needs to be but also talks on their level, as a gamer when that’s needed
  • [32:05] Share your perspective on what it takes to start an esports business and how to be successful at it
    • [32:13] Ryan’s college background is in marketing so that has helped him and he has worked for gaming organizations and communities on the marketing side
    • [32:33] Ryan stresses that he has a degree in youtube. He has learned a lot just from looking things up and teaching himself
    • [32:40] You have to know the games you’re getting into and surround yourself with the right people in those games
    • [32:45] Integrity is everything and you have to be professional
    • [32:40] Ryan says be wary of affiliate partnerships for your organization. Ryan says affiliates are for players not for esports organizations
  • [37:53] What is one organization or team worth following in esports that’s doing things the right way?
    • [38:15] Ryan thinks that Cloud9’s rocket league team, The Muffin Men, did things the right way
    • [38:54] They were org-less. They went to dreamhack on their own out of their own pocket. They competed and won. Then they were signed by cloud9
    • [40:45] As a player you have to know your value and most of the time Ryan sees players overvaluing themselves 10 fold

You can interact and engage with Ryan and AmbitionGamers on Twitter @AmibitionGamers on Twitch and on Discord or their website

3 Big Narratives

  1. Attitude comes before the skill
  2. When you find the team that you click with on a personal level, invest in that team and make them your team
  3. Integrity is everything and you have to be professional and as a player you have to know your value


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