PA Esports Coalition Adds Pro Esports Owner to Board of Directors
HARRISBURG, Pa. (Monday, June 11, 2018) – The newly formed Pennsylvania Esports Coalition (PA ESC) announces the addition of James “Jame^s” O’Connor to its inaugural Board of Directors. O’Connor is the President and owner of the Pittsburgh Knights, a global esports franchise located in the Steel City.
O’Connor’s extensive career in North American esports spans more than a decade. He had tremendous success as a player, coach and owner from 2002 to 2012 within the original versions of Counter-Strike and the Counter-Strike Global Offensive (CSGO) brand. In 2014, he returned to esports and was recruited to coach Team Liquid’s CSGO team, qualifying for two major world finals and placed top four in the world at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH. This success led to O’Connor partnering with National Basketball Association player Jonas Jerebko to acquire the esports franchise “Renegades” and re-brand it as the Detroit Renegades. On Dec 1, 2017, O’Connor officially launched the Pittsburgh Knights.
Bill Thomas, Chairman of the PA ESC Board of Directors, said the addition of O’Connor to the coalition’s Board of Directors is significant. He said the experience, expertise and connections throughout the esports industry that O’Connor brings will only help the coalition meet its mission of advocacy, education and promotion.
“Our goal from the beginning was to build an association that will be a leader in helping the esports industry grow across the Commonwealth,” Thomas said. “I am thrilled that the Pittsburgh Knights have joined the coalition, and that James will be a member of our Board. His expertise and experience will add significant value to the work we are doing here in Pennsylvania.”
Helping to develop the industry and educate stakeholders on the benefits of esports is something O’Connor says he has always tried to accomplish. He believes that esports will have a major positive impact on the city of Pittsburgh, and the Commonwealth as whole.
“Our core mission with the Pittsburgh Knights is to take the best practices from traditional sports and apply them to esports,” O’Connor said. “Pittsburgh is the City of Champions; it has a long history of strong sports franchises and passionate fans. We want to take up that mantle and continue the legacy of the city we grew up in.
“I am excited to lend my expertise to the coalition, and to help advance the development, growth and integrity of esports in Pennsylvania,” he added. “Before joining, I researched Bill's background and knew they had someone with experience needed to build a strong coalition.”
Nick Kratz, Executive Director of the PA ESC, said having someone with O’Connor’s background and success brings another piece of the puzzle to a growing coalition.
“The Coalition is represented by some of the most professional, experienced and passionate people working in the esports ecosystem,” Kratz said. “By adding James to an already strong and committed Board of Directors, we are bringing together the people and organizations that are at the forefront of the business here in Pennsylvania, and across the globe.”