- Business Insider is recognizing the leaders in gaming who are helping shape the careers of YouTube influencers, Twitch streamers, and esports competitors in 2020.
- We are highlighting 17 power players of talent management, based on who is successfully assisting creators in this category on their digital businesses.
- These talent managers, agents, and partner managers help their clients diversify their online brands and build lasting partnerships with companies through influencer-marketing campaigns.
- They represent gamers like Ninja, Pokimane, and Dr DisRespect — a new generation of creators who directly engage with millions of fans on a daily basis.
- Click here for more BI Prime stories.
Esports competitors and gaming creators in the YouTube and livestreaming space are earning lucrative incomes from their success online.
With major partnerships, business opportunities, and millions of views, these independent creators and competitors make up one of the top categories in digital entertainment. Even with the coronavirus pandemic upending the world of media and advertising, gaming has remained relatively resilient and livestream viewership has surged.
Successful gaming influencers like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and Imane “Pokimane” Anys entertain millions of fans on a regular basis, and develop dedicated audiences through direct engagement. With their rise, the demand for managers, agents, and other industry execs to help creators juggle their various ventures and continue their growth has increased.
Business Insider is recognizing a new power list of the top talent managers, agents, and partner managers for esports competitors, gaming YouTubers, and streamers. These managers and agents are innovating in the space and are helping their gaming creator clients build their careers and secure new industry opportunities.
“Gamers are still relatively new to the world of talent representation, and we want to explore the opportunities available for each individual client,” said Hana Tjia, an agent at United Talent Agency. “We want to encourage them to be innovators while remaining authentic to their respective communities.”
She continued: “Gaming clients are very strategic about choosing partners that align with their personal brands and with their fans’ interests. For most gamers, their community is the most important part of their business, and they take special care to put out content that feels genuine and compelling.”
Managers and agents generally earn revenue by receiving a cut of the influencer’s earnings, which typically ranges from 10% to 20%, depending on how much they do for the client, according to industry insiders.
To form this list, Business Insider relied on a mix of our own reporting, nominations from readers, and industry experts to narrow down the finalists. We chose them based on their experience in the space, responsibilities, and impact of the industry broadly.
The power players are listed in alphabetical order by firm or agency:
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Check out our other power lists on Business Insider Prime:
The top 14 talent managers for YouTube creators and influencers who are shaping the future of digital media.
The top 18 talent agents for YouTube creators and influencers.
The top 14 PR pros and publicists for YouTube creators, Instagram influencers, and other digital stars.
Amber Howard — A3 Artists Agency
Amber Howard is a talent agent at A3 Artists Agency who focuses on gaming and esports clients.
Her roster of clients includes 14-year-old Soleil “Ewok” Wheeler, Natalie Casanova, Datto, Justin Kats, and SayNoToRage.
She found Ewok by mining through Twitch last year, and she has placed Ewok into her first major tournament and secured her (along with teammate Kurt Benkert) a spot in the Fortnite Celebrity Pro-Am tournament. Howard orchestrated the deal for Ewok to join FaZe Clan, making her the first woman ever to join the group.
She’s helped her gamers cross over into hosting, streaming, and even has some unscripted programming projects in the works for them.
Prior to joining A3, Howard worked in the esports and gaming department at Warner Brother’s digital gaming arm, Machinima, where she brought the industry into more traditional verticals of content branding and entertainment by overseeing talent development, 360-talent engagement, and launches for various games.
Clients include: Ewok (138,000 Mixer followers), Natalie Casanova (220,000 Twitch followers), Datto (one million YouTube subscribers), Justin Kats (171,000 Twitch followers), and SayNoToRage (172,000 Twitch followers)
Nick Garrett — Aftershock Media Group
Nick Garrett is the vice president of marketing at Aftershock Media Group (AMG).
AMG works with its clients in brand marketing and talent management.
Garrett graduated from Weber State University with a degree in Communications. Following graduation, he spent a short time working at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon where he developed a passion for working with creative talent.
Upon returning to his home state of Utah, he connected with Shonduras and Sean Holladay from “The Spacestation,” a conglomerate of various marketing and esports businesses.
This eventually led to his involvement in a handful of business ventures, which included the acquisition of AMG.
Clients include: Powerbang Gaming (1.47 million subscribers), CWA Mobile Gaming (846,000 subscribers), Nonsense House — which includes Tuxbird (1.6 million subscribers), Cob (256,000 subscribers), Yumi (817,000 subscribers), Evan Braddock (977,000 subscribers) — and Skittlz (395,000 subscribers)
Peter Letz — CAA
Peter Letz is an agent in the Digital Media Group at the entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
Since joining CAA in 2018, Letz has worked to expand his clients profiles as streamers and influencers within the gaming world, and to cross them over into new verticals where they might not traditionally be featured.
In collaboration with his CAA colleagues across departments, some examples of this include a series of deals for Dr Disrespect, like a scripted television deal with Skybound Entertainment (producers of “The Walking Dead”), a book publishing deal with Simon and Schuster, and a branded collaboration with WWE Wrestler, The Undertaker.
He also works to further influencers’ reach in the streaming world and negotiated Nick Eh 30’s exclusive deal to move his livestreaming from YouTube over to Twitch, among others.
Prior to CAA, Letz built the gaming vertical at digital media company Studio71, where among other notable projects he brokered the deal to turn classic indie video game “BINDING OF ISAAC” into a hit tabletop game.
Clients include: Dr Disrespect (4 million Twitch followers), Game Grumps (5.21 million YouTube subscribers), Nick Eh 30 (4.7 million YouTube subscribers, 800,000 Twitch followers), Itsfunneh and the Krew (5.5 million YouTube subscribers) and StoneMountain64 (1.9 million YouTube subscribers)
Andew Tomlinson & Curt Carter — Character Select Agency
Andew Tomlinson and Curt Carter founded Character Select Agency in January 2019 with the goal of representing the top broadcast talent in the gaming industry. CSA’s clients serve as on-air hosts, color commentators, and arena announcers for esports and gaming events around the country.
Prior to focusing on broadcast clients, Tomlinson represented esports competitors for Cyber Solutions Agency. In 2013, he helped Seong “Polt” Hun Choi and Kim “Violet” DongHwan become the first “Starcraft” players to receive a P-1A visa from the American government, allowing them to live in the US and earn a salary.
Tomlinson told Business Insider he was recently excited to see CSA clients hosting three of the most-watched esports events of the year. One of CSA’s most successful clients, Anthony “Goldenboy” Mendez, has earned broadcast roles with AEW Wrestling and NBC’s “Titan Games” after starting his career with esports broadcasts.
Clients include: Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez (AEW Wrestling, “Titan Games”), Gabriella “LeTigress” Devia-Allen (Host, League of Legends Championship Series), Anna Prosser (The Pokémon Championships, BlizzCon), Arten “ballatw” Esa (Fortnite World Cup)
Vera Salamone — FaZe Clan
Vera Salamone is the director of talent for FaZe Clan, one of the most popular esports organizations in the world. FaZe Clan supports more than 70 content creators and esports competitors, with clients as young as 12 years old.
Salamone is a music industry veteran and joined Faze in 2018 to help the members professionalize their image and capitalize on their online celebrity. Though they became famous playing “Call of Duty,” the most well-known members of FaZe have become cultural icons through vlogs of their fashionable Los Angeles lifestyle.
Salamone conducts daily check-ins with the creators living FaZe’s collab mansion in Los Angeles to make sure they’re working toward growth goals and completing projects for sponsors.
Clients include: Banks (5.35 million YouTube subscribers), Adapt (5.56 million YouTube subscribers), Jarvis (2.52 million subscribers), Kay (3.86 million YouTube subscribers)
Brandon Freytag — Loaded
Brandon Freytag’s Loaded management firm handles some of the biggest names in the video-game-streaming business — clients like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek, and Timothy “TimTheTatman” Vetar made Forbes’ list of the 10 top-earning professional gamers in 2019.
Ninja and Shroud made major industry news last year when they agreed to multimillion-dollar deals to bring their streams exclusively to Microsoft’s Mixer.
Freytrag founded Loaded in 2016 after six years in business development at the GoodGame Agency, an esports and gaming talent firm. GoodGame Agency was acquired by Amazon’s Twitch in 2014.
In December 2018, Freytag partnered with GGA founder Alex Garfield to form a new company called Popdog, an esports services company that leverages Loaded’s talent alongside the esports division of Catalyst Sports & Media, and the analytics platform NoScope. Freytag is Popdog’s senior vice president of sales and talent and oversees Loaded’s operations.
Clients include: Ninja (23 million YouTube subscribers), shroud (5.9 million YouTube subscribers), TimTheTatman (4.35 million Twitch followers), summit1g (4.38 million Twitch followers) and Lirik (2.5 million Twitch followers)
Dan Levitt — Long Haul Management
Dan Levitt is a digital talent manager at Long Haul Management.
Levitt has represented YouTube creators since 2012 and his current clients include many of YouTube’s top gaming, sports, and pop-culture talent like YouTuber MatPat whose Game & Film Theorists channels have over 20 million subscribers, as well as the gaming group 2Hype, known for their gaming and sports content.
Levitt helps his clients grow and diversify their revenue streams and projects. He was also an executive producer on the YouTube Red series “MatPat’s Game Lab,” which won a Streamy Award for Best VR/360 video.
He works directly with major game publishers and some of the recent brand partnerships he’s secured for his clients include collaborations with EA, Activision Blizzard, Tencent, Sony Interactive, Microsoft, Plarium, as well as more traditional brands like the NBA, Square Enix, Reebok, Puma, JBL, and Champs. His client Jesser hosts a gaming series for Champs YouTube channel.
Clients include: Gameranx (5.6 million subscribers), MMG (1.5 million subscribers), Troydan (2.2 million subscribers), TDPresents (1 million subscribers)
Evan Kubes —MKM Group, Rumble Gaming
MKM Group is a Canada-based management and legal firm representing multimillion-dollar esports organizations and independent gaming creators.
Kubes said he was inspired to enter the esports industry once he realized Canada had no competing firm focusing on esports. His interest in the industry was piqued after watching “The Smash Brothers,” a four-hour documentary on the grassroots competitive community surrounding Nintendo’s “Super Smash Bros.” fighting game. Prior to founding MKM Group, Kubes was litigating medical malpractice cases.
MKM was acquired by Anthem Sports & Entertainment in April 2019 and merged with the company’s subsidiary Rumble Gaming, another talent agency and media platform, to create one of the largest esports agencies in North America.
Clients include: RektGlobal/Rogue: 102 million subscribers/followers, Chaos EC: 1 million Lazarus: 1.5M, Gizzy Gazza: 2.5 million followers), Enthusiast Gaming: (200 million monthly active users)
Reed Duchscher — Night Media
Reed Duchscher is the president and CEO of Night Media, a talent management firm behind top creators like Jimmy Donaldson, known as MrBeast online, who has 32 million subscribers and videos that can be consistently found on YouTube’s trending page.
Donaldson met Duchscher when he had 1.9 million subscribers and two employees. After working with Duchscher, Donaldson now has over 30 million subscribers and over 18 full-time employees.
Duchscher is actively working with 10 influencers with over 1 billion views per month, including creators in the vlogger-gaming space, like Preston, Unspeakable, and Ssundee.
Duchscher left a career in NFL management to pursue working with digital creators. Starting in 2015 with the now popular YouTube group Dude Perfect, Duchscher has built long-term deals for clients with companies like Elmer’s glue, Hot Wheels, Disney, Sonic, Hot Pockets, and OnePlus.
Clients include: MrBeast (32 million subscribers), Preston (12 million subscribers), Unspeakable (4 million subscribers), Ssundee (13 million subscribers), Leah Ashe (2.7 million subscribers), Brianna (2.6 million subscribers), and Typical Gamer (9 million subscribers).
Omeed Dariani – Online Performers Group
Omeed Dariani is the CEO of Online Performers Group, a talent-management company for professional video game streamers.
Dariani is on trading cards and started StarCityGames.com. He’s also created cartoons (one’s on Netflix), and in his previous role as senior global brand manager of Sony Online, he handled business strategy, marketing, and brand development for games like “EverQuest,” “EverQuest II,” and “Landmark,” among others.
OPG was launched in 2014, and provides full-service management for livestreamers and YouTube personalities. The group manages creators like Cohh Carnage, a Twitch streamer with 1.2 million followers.
Clients include: Ellohime (380,000 Twitch followers), Towelliee (700,000 Twitch followers), and Cobaltstreak (337,000 Twitch followers)
Kat Peterson — re6I
Re6l is an influencer media and ecommerce company based in Toronto, with clients like YouTube’s most popular creator, PewDiePie, who has 103 million subscribers.
Kat Peterson is the cofounder and vice president of business development.
She represents a small group of YouTube creators, helping them develop their brand-sponsored campaigns, brand partner relationships, and power their owned and operated ecommerce brands.
Clients include: PewDiePie (103 million subscribers), Luzu Games (10 million subscribers), and Hello I’m Lana (500,000 subscribers)
Justin Miclat — The Kinetic Group
CEO Justin Miclat founded The Kintect Group in September 2018 after working with professional gamer Nick “Nickmercs” Kolcheff.
Miclat said he had previously worked with YouTube personalities as a talent manager, but seeing Kolcheff’s energy and work ethic encouraged him to find more creators who could engage their audience across different platforms.
The Kinetic Group has helped its clients join esports organizations like FaZe Clan, 100Thieves and Complexity, and negotiated deals with partners like the NFL, NASCAR, and Nickelodeon.
Miclat said influencers in the gaming industry have the advantage of being able to produce their personal style of content for large audiences at scale, and brands have gotten better at working to match his clients’ style.
Clients include: NICKMERCS (2 million YouTube subscribers),SypherPK (2.9 million Twitch followers, CDNthe3rd (2 million Twitch followers)
Sue Lee — Twitch
Sue Lee is a strategic account manager for Twitch, helping facilitate platform-wide brand deals by working directly with Twitch streamers to help them develop content and programming.
Lee said brands often overlook the interactive aspects of Twitch and think of it as a content delivery platform. Lee encourages them to see the added value of Twitch’s creator communities, where fans can engage directly with their favorite streamers.
Lee also serves as a host for live esports events, appearing on broadcasts for “Counter-Strike Global Offensive” and “Starcraft 2.” She said the role gives her additional credibility and helps her see her clients in person when she’s working industry events. Her personal career is managed by Character Select Agency, another entry on our list.
Clients include: ChocoTaco (1.3 million Twitch followers), Yassuo (1.4 million Twitch followers) Pokimane (4 million Twitch followers), Day9TV (492,000 Twitch followers)
Hana Tjia — UTA
Hana Tjia is an UTA agent focused on gaming industry clients.
She joined the agency in July 2018 after UTA acquired Everyday Influencers, a boutique esports management firm where Tjia spent three years as a talent manager. Later that year, Forbes named Tjia to its 30 Under 30 list in the gaming category.
Tjia manages some of the most high-profile women in the gaming industry, including YouTube-exclusive streamer Valkyrae and Twitch-exclusive streamer Pokimane. Tjia said her clients are protective of their personal brands and prioritize partnerships that align with the community they’ve built online, rather than the the deals that will pay the most.
“In order to build connections with clients, you have to speak their language and understand their specialized content, which is very different than film, television, and other forms of traditional media,” Tjia told Business Insider.
Clients include: Pokimane (4 million Twitch followers), Imaqtpie (2.6 million Twitch followers), Lilypichu (2 million YouTube subscribers), Valkyrae (870,000 YouTube subscribers), Symfuhny (1.8 million Twitch subscribers)
David Huntzinger — WME
David Huntzinger is an agent in WME’s digital group who has helped spearhead the company’s gaming business over the last six years.
In his role, he sits at the intersection of gaming and traditional entertainment, focused on bringing together talent and IP across all platforms.
He represents game developers like Night School Studios in helping them package their IP into TV and feature films.
Huntzinger has also developed gaming businesses for traditional talent such as American professional wrestler, Ronda Rousey.
Clients include: Jacksepticeye (23 million subscribers), Lazarbeam (12.8 million subscribers), and Preston (12 million subscribers)
Rich Webb — WME
Rich Webb is a former executive at FaZe Clan, now at WME working with talent across the gaming industry.
Webb joined WME in January with 15 years of experience in the gaming and esports space. He spent the last 3 and a half years at FaZe Clan as the vice president of sales.
Now added to WME’s team, he will be working with esports players, digital content creators, brands, and businesses within the digital space.
He has worked with brands like Venmo, Dr Pepper, Burger King, Astro Gaming, among others in influencer-marketing deals for his past clients.
Webb’s prior roles in the gaming business include tournament director, producer, partnerships manager, director of sales, and VP of sales.
Webb doesn’t have any current clients yet in his new role at WME.
Jeffrey Greller — YouTube
Partner manager Jeffrey Greller joined YouTube in 2018 after spending eight years working his way from the mailroom to a digital agent position at WME.
Greller works with top creators to improve their content strategy, share details about potential brand partnerships, offer updates on changes to the platform, and receive feedback for future product improvements.
“Creators are entrepreneurs that have phenomenal 360-degree businesses that extend outside of YouTube,” Greller said. “But oftentimes a creator’s presence on YouTube can be the engine that helps drive all of their other business ventures.”
While YouTube has dominated online video for years, Greller is helping the company expand its support for livestreamers. Meeting the needs of the most successful gaming creators is a vital part of YouTube’s strategy. The feedback creators share with their partner managers eventually leads to new features on YouTube, like memberships.
Clients include: Preston Gaming (26M subscribers across multiple YouTube channels, Typical Gamer (9 million YouTube subscribers, CouRageJD (2 million YouTube subscribers), I AM WILDCAT (7.3 million YouTube subscribers)