WME-IMG Global Head Of Esports Tobias Sherman Among Four Execs Leaving Agency
WME-IMG Global Head of Esports TOBIAS SHERMAN has left the company, along with three members of his team. Sherman’s team was a key player in the creation of ELeague, the joint venture with Turner Sports. His team also created the "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive" training tool Boomeo and represented numerous clients on esports strategy, including the 76ers. The three others leaving include agent and ELeague co-Creator SIMON ABITBOL, Dir of Strategy & Engagement LILIA RUSSO and VP/Sales & Global Partnerships IMARI OLIVER. “We appreciate all that Tobias contributed to our growth in the esports space and wish him the best in his next chapter," an IMG rep said. A source said the esports team had grown frustrated by what it perceived as the larger organization's inability to grasp the nuances of esports, and to fully appreciate how it must be treated differently from traditional sports and media. WME-IMG will continue to work in esports through its global partnership division and IMG Media, and its role in ELeague is unaffected. Agency Exec VP/Content Strategy & Partnerships KAREN BRODKIN will lead esports efforts.
POTENTIALLY A BIG LOSS: The four departures represented the agency’s core capacity in an industry that values endemic connections and deep expertise. Sherman, a member of SBJ/SBD's most recent "Forty Under 40" class, founded Global eSports Management in '13, an agency that WME-IMG acquired in January '15, bringing him, Abitbol and Russo into the company. Sherman in a statement thanked WME-IMG co-CEOs ARI EMANUEL and PATRICK WHITESELL for the opportunity, but said his team is looking forward to working independently. "Our team is grateful for the experiences we’ve had while at WME-IMG," Sherman said. "We built innovative platforms and broke ground in many areas. Upon my resignation and that of my team, we will now be able to continue our track record of firsts in a variety of new ways. I also intend to create and produce more esports programming across TV and digital which is something that would not be possible as an agent. The timing makes sense for both parties."