Former eUnited VP of Esports Matthew “Burns” Potthoff has found a new home at PIVOT Agency, a San Francisco-based full service sports marketing agency that works closely with brands, sports leagues and teams, athletes, and esports companies.
Potthoff will take on the role of director of gaming and esports, working directly under John Younger, the VP of Esports. While Potthoff’s expertise in esports will help the company delve deeper into the space, PIVOT is no stranger to it, having secured deals in the past with FACEIT (before it merged with ESL), San Francisco Shock, Soniqs, and Chicago Huntsmen, among others.
Speaking to The Esports Advocate on Friday, Potthoff said that he has learned as much as he can on the organizational side of esports and it is time to write the next chapter of his career where his knowledge can be put to the best use.
“I feel it’s the best trajectory for my growth in the esports industry,” he said. “Being able to start as an aspiring pro [Call of Duty] player, playing professionally for 16 different organizations, then joining eUnited and having three different roles (coach, general manager, VP of esports), and being able to work essentially on every project, work with more than 200 players and staff in an organization, I really learned how the business model works from top to bottom. I feel extremely confident in being able to apply what I have learned to my new role as the director of gaming and esports at Pivot.”
While he applied to a number of positions both in and outside of the esports industry, he chose PIVOT because he was impressed with the people, their vision for growing esports into “a core pillar of their business,” and the opportunity to work a normal schedule.
“I’m just really thrilled to get acquainted with a more traditional job,” Potthoff said. “Looking back at eUnited, I was working from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. almost every day because I wanted to put myself in the trenches with my teams, I wanted to know how my players were feeling. Now that I don’t have to deal with players (as much as I love players, managing them, nurturing them, and giving them the resources that they needed to succeed), being able to just focus on the business side of esports and the ability to set a regular schedule and routine for myself is really going to improve my overall mental health.”
The other reason he decided to join PIVOT was because he was really impressed with John Younger. Younger joined PIVOT in April 2021 to lead its esports efforts—he previously worked for Infinite Esports & Entertainment as the SVP of partnerships in charge of Optic Gaming and the Houston Outlaws, and prior to that, he worked in similar roles at INDYCAR, Signal Fire Sports & Entertainment, International Speedway Corporation, Richard Childress Racing, and Roush Fenway Racing.
“I’m happy that I’ll be working directly underneath John Younger,” he told us. “He was the second person that I interviewed with at PIVOT, and I just felt like I connected with how he approached esports—we just clicked right away. That really persuaded me to accept Pivot’s job offer once I received it, because when you’re working with people that you like and you compliment their skill sets, it makes a difference. Working with people that you can learn from is also important; at eUnited, I was educating a lot of people on how to do things all the time, so this will be a change of pace for me. For this sponsorship sales role, I want to be with people that can help me grow, that can see my potential and draw it out of me. I really feel that John and the PIVOT team are going to be able to do that for me.”
Finally, one of the more important aspects of this new role will be to educate brands about the space and help them make informed decisions on signing the best deals that bring the best possible value from their marketing spend. PIVOT works with some of the world’s biggest brands—GLAD, Clorox, BRITA, Kingsford, Great Grains, and many others—so aligning them in an authentic way with the right partners (whether that’s a content creator, player, or an entire organization), is one of the most important aspects of any deal.
“At the end of the day, It’s really about getting the players and the content creators to buy into the product and the overall mission, because you want everything to feel authentic. You don’t want to feel like someone’s forcing something down your supporters’ throat. I think a lot of the brands that PIVOT has established itself with across all of their different properties are authentic brands—they have a voice of their own and they’ve done some really cool things in the space.”