Mike Sepso is a trailblazing leader in the esports and video gaming industries. He was instrumental in the creation of the esports industry itself, and continues to be a key figure in what is now a high-growth, multi-billion dollar business at the cross-section of gaming and traditional sports, media & entertainment. A successful entrepreneur, CEO, public company executive, and spokesperson, he is a unique mix of visionary, dealmaker, and operator with an unparalleled global network in the esports industry he helped create.
Mike was an early pioneer in esports when, in 2002, he founded Major League Gaming with Sundance DiGiovanni. The company went on to become the largest and most powerful independent esports league in the world, and achieved many of the industry’s important first milestones – including launching the first professional esports league system, securing the first televised series (with NBC Sports), and building and launching the first OTT broadcast platform for premium esports content.
In 2015, Activision Blizzard’s (ATVI) CEO Bobby Kotick turned to Mike to launch the company’s first esports and media division. As Senior Vice President and head of the new division, he galvanized ATVI’s various esports programs into what is now the largest and most successful esports organization in the world. Within four months of launching the division, Mike oversaw the acquisition of MLG, at the time the largest acquisition of an independent esports business. In his role as the leader of ATVI’s new esports division, Mike designed the original blueprint for the company’s new esports league structure, brought to life in the form of the Overwatch League, the world’s first global, franchised esports league. Following the launch of the league, he oversaw commercial operations for all ATVI esports, including the largest sponsorship deals in the history of esports with global partners HP and Intel.
A passionate ambassador for esports, Mike is a frequent keynote speaker at the industry’s most prestigious events and conferences. He is also a highly sought-after advisor for some of the industry’s most critical industry groups and companies including the IAB and Nielsen. Over the past two years, Mike's efforts have largely focused on developing key industry relationships with brand advertising and media leaders in order to educate and promote investment in the esports industry globally.
Mike began his entertainment and technology-focused career as an independent Internet consultant for media and e-commerce initiatives. He is a graduate of Babson College with a B.S. in Management.
Bobby Sharma is a sports, media, and entertainment industry leader, with a track-record of accomplishment across professional sports, finance, data, and technology. He is Partner at private equity firm GACP Sports, Chairman of investment company Blue Devil Holdings, LLC, and Special Adviser to the Sports & Entertainment Group at Foley & Lardner LLP.
Bobby was previously SVP, Global Head of Basketball & Strategic Initiatives at IMG, the premier international sports, fashion, and media company. He led the growth of many IMG business interests around the world, including the creation, development, and management of basketball, soccer, and cricket properties – from grassroots programs and academies, to national teams and professional leagues. Bobby focused on major emerging markets, including India, Brazil, China, Turkey, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. He also managed IMG Media’s global sales and distribution business for Euroleague and FIBA basketball properties.
Prior to that, Bobby was VP & General Counsel of the NBA Development League for nearly a decade, helping lead the establishment of the National Basketball Association’s first minor league. He had management responsibility for all league and team businesses, operations, and legal matters, including: franchise administration/governance, broadcast/digital media, sponsorship, marketing, licensing, tickets, arenas, employment, and security. Bobby was responsible for development and management of all league and team agreements, rules, policies, and procedures, as well as integration of the minor league into the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. He handled a variety of corporate transactional matters for the NBA, WNBA, and the NBA Development League, including joint ventures and other innovative sports transactions relating to the acquisition, financing, and operation of franchises. Bobby also led the creation of the NBA’s first international league consulting business unit.
Bobby also served on the presidential campaign staff of former U.S. Senator and Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Bradley, and practiced law in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and in New York City with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. He is a graduate of Duke University, Duke Law School, and the Harvard Business School executive program on the Business of Entertainment, Media & Sports.
Widely known in the television sports world for his nearly three decade career helping build and innovate sports television programming for both HBO and Showtime, Ken Hershman has most recently been appointed Chief Operating Officer at Vuemix, a Silicon-valley based tech startup. Prior to that, he was Executive Chairman & Commissioner of the World Esports Association (WESA), where he worked extensively with many of the top esports teams in the world and pioneered a number of initiatives in the esports world.
As President, HBO Sports, Ken was responsible for the strategic direction and overseeing of the HBO Sports division. This included the renowned boxing franchises World Championship Boxing®, Boxing After Dark® and HBO-Pay-Per-View®, as well the Emmy-winning journalism series Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, the Peabody Award-winning Legends & Legacies documentaries, and the acclaimed sports reality shows Hard Knocks and 24/7.
Ken came to HBO from Showtime, where he held a number of legal and senior programming roles, including Executive Vice President and General Manager of Sports & Event Programming, where he developed shows with NASCAR, Major League Baseball and the NFL.
Ken previously practiced law in New York City with the global law firm Shearman & Sterling, LLP. He is a graduate of the Fordham University School of Law, where he was a member of the International Law Journal and received his BA degree with distinction from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.