Veteran sports broadcasting executive Ken Hershman has been named executive chairman and commissioner of the World eSports Association (WESA), the fledgling governing body for the worldwide competitive video gaming industry.
Hershman, the former president of HBO Sports and former executive VP and GM of Showtime Sports, was also named the CEO of the WESA Agency, the media arm of the group.
WESA was formed in May by eSports company ESL and eight of the industry’s major eSports teams with the intent of professionalizing the growing industry of competitive gaming, with proposals for revenue sharing, standard regulations and better scheduling for events and broadcasts. The ongoing ESL Pro League for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the first pro eSports competition operating under WESA’s regulations.
“Now is the perfect time for WESA to introduce a dynamic and seasoned Commissioner and we're confident Ken is the right leader to take our organization and sport to new heights," Ralf Reichert, WESA board director and co-founder and managing director of ESL, said in a statement. "Ken is a true visionary whose expertise in strategy, creative and execution is precisely what WESA needs to move at digital speed to fulfill our vision to build a world-class eSports association.”
Hershman brings nearly three decades of TV sports experience to WESA. During his tenure as president of HBO Sports — which ended in December — Hershman helped rebuild the company’s boxing franchises, and built up HBO’s original sports programming, including Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Hard Knocks and 24/7.
“eSports isn’t just the future — it’s the present," Hershman said in a statement. “I’m excited about the challenge and confident my experience can help benefit everyone involved in WESA, including players, teams and leagues, as we work to build bridges and balance collective benefits.”
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