Nadeshot: Life of an eSports Star

The New York Times continues its coverage of eSports and the gaming industry with a profile of Matt Haag, known as Nadeshot and sponsored by Red Bull. The piece details what it’s like to be a sponsored and popular eSport personality: “Three years ago, he was flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Today Mr. Haag, 22, skinny and blindingly pale, makes his living playing Call of Duty, a popular series of war games where players run around trying to shoot one another.”

“Mr. Haag has 1.5 million YouTube subscribers along with a lucrative contract to live-stream his daily game sessions online. Known as Nadeshot (shorthand for ‘grenade shot’), he travels the world playing tournaments as spectators pack arenas to see him. At home near Chicago, he has a problem with fans showing up at his house.”

“And while most pro gamers have to settle for modest sponsorships with companies that make things like game controllers and headphones, Mr. Haag last year also attracted Red Bull, the energy drink, which has traditionally built its marketing around skateboarders, motocross riders and other extreme-sports athletes. Mr. Haag is one of six people on its roster of e-sports players, and it is showering them with the same attention and training it has lavished on athletes who compete in the real world.”

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