Former HBO Sports President Ken Kershman To Lead World Esports Association
The World Esports Association (WESA) Board of Directors unanimously voted to appoint Ken Hershman as the organization’s new Executive Chairman and Commissioner, effective immediately. Hershman, former president of HBO Sports, will take the reins from Pietro Fringuelli, who served as Interim Commissioner since the introduction of WESA this past May.
Hershman was also named Chief Executive Officer of the WESA Agency, the media arm of the organization. WESA and the WESA Agency’s global headquarters are located in Zug, Switzerland, while the US headquarters are in New York City.
“Esports isn’t just the future – it’s the present,” said Hershman. “I’m excited about the challenge and confident my experience can help benefit everyone involved in WESA, including players, teams and leagues, as we work to build bridges and balance collective benefits.”
Hershman spent nearly 30 years in the television sports world, where he helped spearhead innovative television programming for both HBO and Showtime. During his tenure as president of HBO Sports, Hershman piloted a variety of renowned boxing franchises, as well as award-winning original programming including “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” “Hard Knocks” and “24/7.” Hershman is a graduate of the Fordham University School of Law and received a BA degree from George Washington University.
“Now is the perfect time for WESA to introduce a dynamic and seasoned Commissioner and we’re confident Ken is the right leader to take our organization and sport to new heights,” says Ralf Reichert, WESA Board Director and Co-Founder and Managing Director, ESL. “Ken is a true visionary whose expertise in strategy, creative and execution is precisely what WESA needs to move at digital speed to fulfill our vision to build a world-class esports association.”
WESA was founded in May 2016 by eight of the world’s most popular esports teams (Fnatic, Natus Vincere, EnVyUS, Virtus.Pro, Gamers2, Faze, mousesports, Ninjas in Pyjamas) and ESL, the world’s largest esports company, who shared a collective vision to further professionalize the sport by introducing elements of player representation, standardized regulations and revenue sharing for teams. Based on traditional sports association models, WESA also aims to create predictable schedules for fans, players, organizers and broadcasters by engaging all appropriate stakeholders. The ESL Pro League for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will be the first professional esports competition that will be played under WESA regulations.
“On behalf of all the WESA member teams, we’re excited about Ken’s appointment,” says Wouter Sleijffers, CEO of Fnatic. “Ken brings a wealth of experience we see as critical step in our ambition to organize and define standards for this rapidly expanding industry. We look forward to working with Ken, his team and the newly appointed Player Council to building a world-class organization.”
“As an esports player, we’re excited about the appointment of someone of Ken’s experience to help ensure we have an appropriate voice in setting the table for the future of our sport,” says Viktor (Vuggo) Jenedeby, WESA Player Council Chairman. “We look forward to working closely with Ken in the years ahead.”