Understanding Esports Q&A / AMA

Hello everyone!

To quickly introduce myself, I am Nathan Mathews, the Head of Esports for the Essendon Football Club.
I was asked by a fellow member on this forum to drop past and answer some questions regarding esports and the role it plays for the club. A lot of the people here are paying members of the club and want to understand why Essendon have invested in esports and what value it actually holds.

I will be happy to answer pretty much any question but please understand that I will not be able to reveal anything that is considered confidential and I won’t be much help answering any specific AFL/Team questions.
No matter your question, I will try and give you a serious question. I won’t be offended by any question you have, so go crazy.

On a final note, the Essendon Esports team is competing in the Grand Final this Saturday. This is a very special event, the winner will head overseas to play on the world stage.

Here is a video of the team in the lead up to the Grand Final: https://www.facebook.com/EssendonFC/videos/593525024455716/

My twitter

Edit: Added in the Esports video.


Hi Nathan, welcome and thanks for your intro and engagement.

Just a simple one first up: Is your department considered by EFC to be a step in the plan to raise alternative revenue streams, thereby enabling us to divest from the gambling industry?



Hi Nathan,

I am naive about esports, having not played a game since Lode Runner on the Apple 2e…

Question 1: Trying to be objective, how do you think the Australian standard of competition will measure up against the rest of the world?

Question 2: Sounds like we try to maintain a healthy work-life balance for our players…but are we going up against other teams in the world that push the envelope in terms of the time they will commit to their training?

Question 3: Do you think esports players have an age limit to their playing longevity? eg. Reaction time.


PS. Whenever the captain appears in videos on the website, I find him very affable. I would put my avatar life on the line for that man.


I’m looking for a new office keyboard, I need to know:
Blue, Brown or Red switch? I need an expert opinion :stuck_out_tongue:

Also, good luck for the grand final on Saturday!

Hi Nathan, if they played starcraft I might be interested.

Edit: in all fairness, until the team that matters is performing I consider this an irrelevant and unnecessary distraction from the club’s core business

Hi Nathan,

Can you tell us the equipment you use? Or if its a competitive advantage, perhaps your last equipment before now?

And do you play ps4 or is esport just with a computer.

Question 3: Do you think esports players have an age limit to their playing longevity? eg. Reaction time.

It’s rare to see players over 30. Twitch (in terms of reaction, not the streaming platform) based shooters like Counter-Strike and Fortnite, and APM games like LoL, MK or Starcraft 2 are dominated by 16-25 year olds.

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And do any of the footy players ask you to play fortnite with them?

Are there any esports for old slow people.

Eg chess or something which priorities a bit of deep thought over lightening reflexes?

Fark, that brings back some childhood memories.


One of the biggest questions I get is ‘Why is the club investing in Esports? What a waste of money!’
From the outside, I can completely understand that outlook but there are two main reasons, one of which answers your question.

Alternative Revenue Stream.
Now, I don’t know if the board has a piece of paper that says ‘Esports will replace Pokies’, however, any revenue that Esports generates will help the club make the decision to divest from the gambling industry if they choose to do so.

Most Football clubs have tapped out their traditional markets in terms of revenue and income. Clubs need to start thinking outside the box in terms of revenue growth and esports is just one of many ideas.

A new target demographic.
Esports target demographic is 14-26 year old males. From a marketing perspective, this is one of the hardest to reach audiences in terms of advertising. Most people in this age group don’t respond to traditional media (newspaper / tv / radio) and their online influence generally involves adblockers.

This is an opportunity for Essendon to partner with Brands/Sponsors looking to advertise to that market. The club has partnered with companies such as Coca Cola, Jam Audio, Penix, Mondelez International (think Cadbury/Orea/Sour Patch Kids). These brands pay a premium to advertise to this demographic.

Even looking outside of sponsors, the Football club now has an avenue to market its memberships and brand to a new audience.

I know this went beyond your question but I wanted to give a broader picture.


Something like Hearthstone or Magic (Collectible Card Games) if you’re interested in competing. All other top esports titles all have a reactionary/physical element.

That and Jumpman. Oh! also the one with hamburgers…

Thanks Nathan, I appreciate the in-depth answer and wish your team well.

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I had to google Lode Runner since that is well before my time haha.

Question 1
This is a tough question to answer since it really depends on the game/esports being played.
Our guys compete in ‘League of Legends’ which is the biggest Esport in the world. Australia has good players, we have had our top players recruited from overseas teams but overall, it’s comparable to the Australian Soccer team.
Will we ever win the world cup? Almost certainly not. Australia is considered a ‘Wildcard’ team and we deserve that title. Esports is still young in our country and we have significant limitations (Population, Internet Speed, Cultural Differences, Geographic location), it will be a long time before we can overcome these limitations.

To put this into perspective, in South Korea, gaming is a huge part of their culture. There are multiple FREE TO AIR tv channels with 24/7 esports. Their top gamers are seen in the same light we see our AFL legends.

Question 2
I will use the same analogy as above. We are the Australian Soccer team going up against teams that have better infrastructure, better players and a bigger cultural acceptance. It would be like a USAFL team trying to beat an AFL team.
We will need to adjust the way we train to compensate for this deficit and it will be challenging but the players are up for it.

Question 3
No, not at all.
I have thought about this a lot in the past. This is still an area that needs to be researched but the general consensus is that age does not play a part in player retirement from a reflex point of view.

Esports is very demanding, it requires a lot of practice over a long period of time. it is draining and it stops being fun. Even with a full-time wage, younger players have the extra time to dedicate to practice.
As a player moves through their career, they will start to lose passion for the game, they will pick up new hobbies or even look to start a family. These traits will limit the amount of time one can practice and it will ultimately hurt their ability to compete against younger players who have that drive.

and yes, Jake is amazing and a great guy to have around the club.

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I am a HUGE fan of the Brown switch. Mechanical keyboards can be pretty loud when you type, so keep that in mind if you have someone you like (or dislike) sitting next to you :slight_smile:



Hi Nathan!

Glad you have time for us here.

No questions but thought I should let others know too that League of Legends is free to play. https://na.leagueoflegends.com/en/ PC or Mac only.

You can also play against AI (also known as bots) so you don’t have to humiliate yourself and just want to get a feel of what it’s all about.

Not sure if there is something where you can join the EFC league to play against other Essendon supporters.


We completely understand that. Essendon members are first and foremost AFL fans.
I know the on-field performance of the Essendon team has been a bit rough but I can ensure you, the clubs primary focus is the AFL team.

We don’t interfere with the core business in any way shape or form outside of a few posts on social media. Any time I walk past the AFL players, I like to remind them that the esports team is doing better in the hopes it fires them up


Most of the guys will use some sort of Mechanical Keyboard and a mouse with extra buttons. There is no real competitive advantage between each keyboard or mouse, it’s similar to your footy boots, it just comes down to comfort.

For those unaware, a mechanical keyboard is just a standard keyboard with more defined keys. There is a better sensory response when pressing each key that allows the players to be certain a key was pressed. They are also really loud.

Our guys are focused on PC gaming and a lot of Esports are PC based but there are multiple PS4/Xbox esport leagues (Fifa, Madden, ect)

I answered this question earlier in the thread and I have a more detailed response but no, I don’t think age plays a factor in response time.

Yes! There are a few guys that are actually really good at Fortnite.
Similar to traditional sports, skills don’t exactly transition well between games. So even though our guys are very good at League of Legends, does not mean they are good at Fortnite.

Card games such as Hearthstone come to mind. The majority do focus on reflexes but that’s only at a top level. The vast majority of games can be played by anyone no matter their age or reflexes.

No problem. Happy to be here.

I do suggest using the following link:

The one you used will sign players up to the American server.


Burger Time? I remember it fondly…