Time to Play The Game: Esportz Network CEO Mark Thimmig

Time to Play The Game: Esportz Network CEO Mark Thimmig

If you love video games and late-night talk shows, this new show “The Gamer Hour” is for you.  The first of its kind, The Gamer Hour interviews celebrities of all industries as they play video games with Esportz Hall of Famer Chris Puckett.  With only seven episodes out, this new show is only going to get bigger.  Designed to reach a broad audience, this show reaches dedicated gamers and more casual gamers through a new celebrity guest each week.  So far, the guests have ranged from pro athletes such as San Francisco 49ers receiver Kendrick Bourne, to music producer and DJ Clinton Sparks.  With many more guests coming, this is the new weekly show to watch.  CEO of Esportz Network Mark Thimmig shares upcoming news and information on the show.  

SUAVV: Can you tell us a little about your new show “The Gamer Hour”?  

Mark: Of course.  The Gamer Hour has so far been very successful for us.  In our first six shows, we already have over 1,085,000 views on three platforms and we distribute the show on 53 platforms, so we’re very excited about it right now.  We are getting tremendous guests and have many athletes wanting to be on the show.  We would love to see some more actors, comedians, and artists on the show.  It’s a show we designed to reach a broader audience.  We wanted celebrities that are not just celebrities in the gaming world.  These are celebrities who are just gaming at times but are well beyond the gaming world.  We have been really pleased with people like NBA player Josh Hart who’s got a very active gaming life and is also a huge NBA star.  So he is known well beyond the field of gaming and brought a broad audience.  Celebrities live interesting lives and bring a broad spectrum of people into gaming.  

SUAVV: This show is super unique and there’s nothing like it, how did it come about?

Mark: It was a vision of mine many months back and I have a great producer named Travis Cochran who co-developed the show with me.  So I wanted to create this show that really brought the convergence of music, comedy, acting, and gaming together.  As I’ve seen gaming as a broader category and Esports as a part of gaming growing exponentially, I’ve also seen this convergence.  It’s not only a convergence of music and acting, but it’s also a very unique time.  It’s a time where fathers and mothers are literally listening to the same music as their kids, wearing the same clothes, and gaming with their kids.  We’ve never seen that in history before.  The closest I got to gaming with my father was going to a golf course.  When you look at the 30-40 age group, many of those people have teenage kids and many of those kids are doing as I’m suggesting here, dressing like their parents, listening to comparable music, and gaming with some of the same games.  We see this amazing time developing and wanted the show to go beyond having host Chris Puckett just interview a gamer who has a narrow focus.  That’s where we felt celebrities with broader lives with gaming just a part of their lives, not the focus would resonate with people.  

SUAVV: Speaking on how it’s such a good time to release it, coronavirus makes it even better timing because it forces so many people to stay home and sports haven’t been the same because of it.  

Mark: Yes and we’re just really excited about where this can go.  We are developing a whole new brand called Celebrity Pro Match that’ll be coming out the first of the year.  It’s giving us the opportunity for celebrities to do exhibition play with some of the most popular games out there.  We’ve sort of hit a nerve in the whole field of sports.   There’s a huge number of sports personalities who love their profession, but they also love gaming.  They travel with computers and gear but to your point, when they’re in a particular city right now, they can’t run around because of Covid.  They’re in their hotels because they aren’t supposed to be mingling with the chances of catching the virus.  So many of them are popping out they’re game consoles and gaming.  Some have realized a lot of fans will watch them play on twitch and that there is a big audience for it.  So you’re right this is a remarkable time for people to embrace something that brings people together.  

SUAVV: It is perfect timing and this talk show is very fresh with only six episodes so far.  I noticed Clinton Sparks is the first guest that isn’t a professional athlete.  Can your fanbase expect guests of all categories?  

Mark: Oh most definitely.  On the Gamer Hour website, we have a list of upcoming guests.  We have several musicians such as Zayde Wolf who’s coming up next.  He is a tremendous singer and songwriter and he actually sings the opening and closing to the show.  We have plenty more musicians coming up but we wanna see some rappers such as Chance The Rapper.  We do have an artist and his son coming on soon which we are very excited about because it shows the convergence of family playing the same games together.  We’re super excited to bring out several ways in which we see the emergence of our culture through this show.  

SUAVV: That’s very exciting to see all types of celebrities on the show and can’t wait to watch more.  I understand that Turtle Beach is a sponsor of the show.  They have some of the best gaming equipment out there, how did getting them to be a sponsor come about?  

Mark: They are fantastic people and we connected on Linked in I believe. They really enjoyed our first episode with Josh Hart.  Josh showed all of his gaming equipment and he had a lot of Turtle Beach gear which certainly caught their attention.  I think they just felt we fit an area of broader reach that they wanted to add to their marketing portfolio.  So I think they felt really good about having some great gamers but their product is broader and has a broader benefit than just the hardcore gaming community.  They were just excited to be able to expand the audience and they saw the Gamer Hour as a show that has that broader audience for their product.  It’s just a perfect fit and I couldn’t be happier, they are such a quality company whose support has been fantastic.  We love having them and all of our guests are gifted Turtle Beach equipment.  

SUAVV: They have always been one of the top brands for gaming.  Speaking of sponsorships, I understand you guys are the first Esports channel on popular streaming service “Fite”.  Can you tell me a little about that?  

Mark: Oh absolutely.  Fite is a tremendous partner, we love the people over at Fite.  It was a perfect opportunity for us to expand our programming and a great opportunity for them to expand into Esports.  We expect to do more with them and at some point bring them a video podcast channel which is very exciting.  We also expect down the road some of our programmings will fit into pay-per-view.  They have a multi-million audience and some of the big stars we have coming onto the Gamer Hour are also big stars on fite.tv.  We have Sasha Banks and Mandy Rose coming onto the show and they are huge stars in the wrestling world and on fite.tv.  Fite fans are some of the most ravenous and amazing fans we have seen so we are very excited to work with that audience.  We see a bigger partnership with them as we go forward.  

SUAVV: That’s very exciting and I’m sure a lot of fight fans are going to enjoy it.  I noticed on the first two episodes he didn’t play video games with the guests, was playing video games on the show not always an idea?

Mark: So we actually wanted them to play but unfortunately, Josh Hart’s time was very limited so we weren’t able to do a gaming segment.  In the second episode with Hamidou Diallo, he was not in a place where he could access gaming equipment.  We have been more strict on our guests being able to play games and if they’re not able we will have to reschedule them to a time they can play.  It’s really an important part of the show going forward and a must.  Josh is actually a fantastic gamer so we were really disappointed we couldn’t game with him and our host Chris Puckett has actually played with him in the past.  We will definitely see gaming going forward on all of our shows.  Our guests have to have some interest or passion for video games and it could be any number of games.  We have a range of games being played on upcoming shows so it’s not always the same, we try to pick a game our guests enjoy most.  We would also welcome a publisher that wants to launch a new game on the show and would like our host and guest to play their new game. a great host like Chris Puckett and a celebrity guest playing a new game could spark a lot of interest.    

SUAVV: There are so many ways to expand on this show it’s really incredible.  Chris Puckett is an amazing host by the way, how did that come about?  

Mark: We looked at what we thought were the top five broadcasters out there and I from day one had watched a fair amount of Chris’s footage in the past and because I was looking for a show to appeal to a broader mass of people, I wanted that clean-cut type of person.  I don’t think Chris has an enemy in the world.  He is the nicest guy you’re ever going to meet, he has a great sense of humor and is incredibly approachable.  I looked at all of the broadcasters and thought each one has great talents, but Chris just stood out to me as the best.  He is somebody who exhibited that Jimmy Kimmel late-night show vibe.  He’s got the looks and delivery to be one of those late-night guys and that’s the aspiration of this show to eventually be like a late-night show but with an Esports audience.  We worked with Chris and his agent for a few months and came to an agreement.  We couldn’t be happier and he is performing very well. 

SUAVV: He definitely makes people feel good after watching him host.  I saw there’s a signup page on the Gamer Hour website.  What can fans expect with signing up?  

Mark: There will be things for fans once we have that built out a little more.  Turtle Beach is doing things with us already and as we sign more sponsors we want to give more to our fans.  We want to give them opportunities to pick up products and services.  So there will be some really nice things coming down the road for our fans especially if we get more sponsors.  We really want our sponsors to participate with our show and fans.  

SUAVV: This is such a fresh show and as I was watching I saw all the episodes had very recent dates.  With a promising road ahead, where do you see the future of the show?  

Mark: I think we’re going to continue the show on a long-term basis and I feel we have an endless supply of talent that would like to be on the show.  The challenge is getting a balance of guests.  I would love to see some actors/actresses who are big gamers come on the show.  I’d love to see some comedians get on the show as well.  As we continue to add people, we’re doing it very carefully.  We are working with probably a dozen agents at the moment who are continuously bringing different people to us and we have a long list of athletes and stars who want to be on the show now.  We are trying to be very selective about it because the show is starting to take off and we want it to be a platform for some really exciting people.  It’s fun that we’ve got a lot of NFL and NBA guys in here and as the season’s progress, these guys often times start scoring touchdowns and having big games, it’s really fun to bring in those clips of some of their great moments.

SUAVV: Oh absolutely, it would be very entertaining to see some comedians and movie stars on the show.  Is there anything else coming up on Esports Network or the Gamer Hour we should look forward to?  

Mark: I think early next year id love to come back and talk to you about celebritypromatch.com, that website will be live in the next few weeks.  We’ll be talking about some of the celebrities joining up on teams and it’s going to be pretty amazing.  For people who enjoy watching some of the biggest celebrities play against each other in matches in a fun way, it’ll be very entertaining.  This is really about people having fun doing what they love to do.  We have athletes, former special force guys, and more.  It’s going to be a lot of fun and we’ve got a series of games but we’re gonna start with one that a lot of people are excited about.  We’re also going to continue having great guests on the Gamer Hour and were very excited about that as well. 

“The Gamer Hour” is a weekly show featuring different celebrities and video games.  These guests not only play video games with host Chris Puckett, but talk about how they got into gaming, what games they love, and the role video games play in their lives.  With many celebrity guests coming soon, this fresh new show is just getting started.  You can view The Gamer Hour every Tuesday on over 50 different platforms such as Youtube, fite.tv, Prime, and more.