MLG Co-founder Mike Sepso discusses the ‘esports bubble’ and Vindex’s success

Mike Sepso — ESI Class of 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Mike Sepso — is an esports legend. The man that, along with Sundance DiGiovanni, founded Major League Gaming (MLG) is currently the CEO of Vindex — a company he also co-founded, again with DiGiovanni.

Mike Sepso Vindex
Credit: Vindex. Pictured: company CEO Mike Sepso

RELATED: Vindex to Join World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community

Vindex is a provider of technology and infrastructure to esports companies. Through its Esports Engine and Next Generation Esports arms, the company facilitates some of the world’s biggest esports events, providing services from programme design and management to event production and broadcasting. News broke in July that Sepso and co. had acquired GAME’s Belong Gaming Arena division while pledging to invest $300m (£222.02m) in the project. Vindex plans to roll out over 500 esports venues in the US and a further 1000 in other countries — mainly in Europe.

The middle of 2020 may not seem the best time to funnel $300m into the global roll-out of gaming arenas. Vindex is different, though. “Our infrastructure and technology enabled us to move to a remote broadcasting model,” Sepso told Esports Insider. “So we’ve been pretty lucky [during the pandemic] compared to some companies.”

The year wasn’t without its disruptions, however, and although the arena investment was committed, progress has been slow. “We had a few live events planned in February, and they obviously got put on hold. There was a major reset then… the pandemic slowed the progress of Belong venues in the US, which is a shame.

Vindex CODE Bowl
Credit: Vindex. Picture taken behind the scenes of Call of Duty event ‘CODE Bowl 2020’, which Vindex’s production vertical Esports Engine produced. Photo taken at Esports Engine’s office in Columbus, Ohio

“The break has given us time to build up our management team, which is a small positive. The situation has knocked progress back two or three quarters, but all things considered, things look better now than we might have thought a few months ago.”

Last month, Vindex announced it was the first gaming company to join the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Innovators Community. The initiative, according to the WEF, gives global leaders in innovation a platform to ‘engage with public- and private-sector leaders’, and to ‘contribute new solutions to overcome the current crisis and build future resiliency’.

RELATED: Vindex reportedly set to acquire GAME’s Belong

The Community will run strategy meetings, business roundtables, and global summits involving its members as well as key heads of state. But why was Vindex selected?

“Well, I’ve spent quite a lot of time with the World Economic Forum over the last couple of years,” Sepso commented. “They’re interested in getting more exposure to gaming, and I think they looked…

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