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Open Seats Available: Access and Awareness for Women in Esports

Photo: Courtesy of Nathan Dumlao

Megan Van Petten

Founder, Esports Trade Association and Owner, Van Petten Group


Kristin Rennels

Executive Director at Esports Trade Association

As the ​founder of Esports Trade Assocation (ESTA)​ and owner of the association management company, Van Petten Group, Megan Van Petten has her finger on the pulse of the burgeoning industries of management and esports. Van Petten states, “​I saw the esports industry as promising uncharted territory, and by bringing the players, teams, leagues, and stakeholders together, we could support the spirit of team collaboration for all involved. And frankly, why wouldn’t I want to get involved in one of the fastest growing industries in the world?” 

Room at the console

The industry has evolved a long way from young boys playing video games in front of their computers. Projected to hit ​$1 billion by the end of 2019, the esports industry is estimated to attract 427 million viewers worldwide, according to Newzoo’s projections. ​There is room at the table and the women running ESTA are passionate that women know that they can pull up a chair and take a seat. Currently, only 5 percent of pro esports players are women. This is timely as we watch the job landscape drastically change as traditional career paths begin to dissipate. 

This is essential to Van Petten, named one of the Top 5 Women in Fantasy Sports, as she seeks to serve her community as a trailblazing thought leader, mentor, and speaker. Her hope for the next generation of talented women in the workforce is that they seize those profitable opportunities just waiting for the taking. This is one of the many reasons Van Petten was eager to collaborate with Rennels and onboard her expertise into the ESTA family. 

Going for gold

With a background in nonprofit management and fundraising, Rennels recommends taking a page from the business playbook for ways to encourage women onto the court. She calls for the creation of safe spaces for women in order to support their careers as they step into the limelight. Gamers, marketers, and tech wizards need these places to connect and find the resources they need to begin to build a lasting legacy. This is a defining moment as esports positions itself to become part of the Olympics in the near future, and as ESTA, under female leadership, calls for all hands on deck to foster such spaces to prepare for the radical growth projected.

Robin Fischer, Writer, Van Petten Group, [email protected]

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