Former eUnited Producer Luis Ortiz has found a new home at NBA team Phoenix Suns as its new senior producer of partner marketing. Ortiz was one of the last people to be laid off by the eUnited before it shut down at the beginning of this year, alongside General Manager and VP of Esports Matthew “Burns” Potthoff, Social Media Manager Connor Langdon, and Graphic Designer Isaac Waller.
In an interview with The Esports Advocate on Saturday, Ortiz explained what his new role at the Suns would entail:
“So my new position is senior producer of partner marketing, and essentially it is creating and helping curate content for our partners–that’s anybody that supports the Phoenix Suns, from Verizon to Fry’s and everything in between,” Ortiz said. “We have certain deliverables, we have certain content pieces for social media around the community and the Suns, and how we work in tandem with our partners to support the community. I’m also kind of like a liaison, a bridge between the content team and the partnerships team. I’m helping take care of all the partnership needs because this is a new position and it’s something that they’ve needed for quite some time now.”
In his new role, Ortiz will work with Phoenix Suns partners and sponsors, including jersey patch sponsor PayPal, Coca-Cola, Farmers Insurance, Fry’s Food Stores, Gatorade, Kia, McDonald’s, MidFirst Bank, Socios.com, Southwest Airlines, UPS, and Verizon.
Rooted in Phoenix
Rewinding back to November, Ortiz recalls being told by eUnited management that his employment would end at the beginning of the new year. (Many of the people we spoke to last week said that eUnited gave remaining staff fair warning that the organization would shut down). At first, he was still looking for a job with esports but there were challenges that kept him from taking several opportunities:
“After I found out that eUnited was going to close at the end of the year or shut down most esports operations, it became (obviously) important for me to find a new job. Basically, for a good part of November—once I got back from my final esports trip after Thanksgiving—I started applying for a lot of positions in esports. I was still very gung ho about staying in the scene if they still wanted to have me, basically. I had one or two opportunities available but they weren’t remote like eUnited was, and that was kind of a problem because I live with my girlfriend and our dog (and her work is here) in Phoenix, Arizona.”
Comfortably rooted in Phoenix with his family, he realized that a lot of the esports-related jobs he was seeing would require relocating, so he started looking at local opportunities in startups, tech companies, and businesses that needed his particular skill set.
“One of those opportunities was working for the [Phoenix] Suns, and at first I applied for a video content position—just the standard video guy—maybe shooting games and whatever else they might need. And I applied for it and had my fingers crossed, and waited to see how that went. Then another position that opened up was a senior producer position, and I was like, ‘Okay, well this one might be a little harder to get, but let me try my luck at both of these.’ And I did and I ended up getting the senior producer position. So basically it just kind of panned out that I happened to get something local. It wasn’t like I was gunning for every team in the NBA or anything like that; I was looking for a position to fill related to what I do, and it just so happens that the Suns were looking to fill a position in what I do.“
Thoughts on eUnited
Reflecting on his time at eUnited (he worked there from August 2021 – December 2022), Ortiz, like many people who were affected by layoffs and cuts, had nothing but nice things to say about his time at the organization. “The people at eUnited, the people behind the scenes like John DeHart and Matthew Potthoff, were really nice to me and great to work with,” he said.
As for why he ended up working for eUnited in the first place, it all started with the organization’s Call of Duty team before Activision Blizzard decided to make the official competitive circuit a franchised league:
“To be honest with you, I learned a lot from them before I ever joined,” he said. “Obviously being a fan of filmmaking and esports, I try to look for organizations that create documentary-style videos for their teams. I remember it was World War II season of Call of Duty where—I’m not gonna say I rooted for certain teams—but the teams that I was looking forward to doing well weren’t, and eUnited was this underdog at that point, and they weren’t placing top two or anything like that, but they had heart and they conveyed that really well in their documentary series. And it was a very heartbreaking season because they didn’t perform to the degree that they wanted to. So that season of their tournament runs made me a big fan of eUnited.”
During the next season, eUnited would go on to win the world championship. It was a pretty solid year for the team, which included the likes of James “Clayster” Eubanks, Chris “Simp” Lehr, Alec “Arcitys” Sanderson, Preston “Prestinni” Sanderson, and Tyler “aBeZy” Pharris. They would go on to beat 100 Thieves 3-2 in the finals to take home the 2019 Call Of Duty World Championship title.
Seeing eUnited succeed after struggling in the previous season along with the biting, tongue-in-cheek social media banter being created by John DeHart (the former director of marketing and strategy who left the company in December of 2021) and the social media team at the time, made Ortiz want to be a part of that creative process.
When asked what he learned during his time at eUnited that he could bring to his new job at the Suns, Oritz said:
“What I learned there was related to all the stuff that I have to do now with our partners and how they work with the team. It’s the same thing I was doing at eUnited— to deliver monthly or annual deliverables for Scuf Gaming, Elgato, Rise Against the Disorder—all these partners we had, it was the same kind of situation. They helped me to learn those practical skills and be able to use them with a larger team, a larger organization.”
Finally, when asked whether he would consider making a return to the esports scene sometime in the future, Ortiz said that it would have to be an organization that he admired and would also offer a decent amount of compensation, especially if it required moving away from Phoenix and uprooting his family.
“As long as I feel like those things are aligned, that would be the time when I would consider going back [to esports],” he said. “Of course, that’s wishful thinking and I’m very happy so far with what I’m doing; I just started, it’s my second week in and it’s fun. I am really enjoying what I’m doing now for the Suns.”