UK-based grassroots esports organisation LDN UTD has appointed Jacob Harrison as its new chief gaming officer.
Jacob has spent nearly a decade in esports, both as a community leader and as a product manager at ESL UK and Blast – delivering esports productions in games like PUBG, Dota 2 and Vainglory. He also has an advanced research degree in international development from the University of Oxford.
At LDN UTD, he will aim to use gaming and esports to provide opportunity to young gamers whilst addressing social problems.
LDN UTD was set up in late 2018 as an esports org ‘aligned with societal benefits and social purpose’. Last year, the org teamed up with grime artist P Money to get people off the streets, prevent knife crime and give gamers a route to turn professional.
Then, later in 2019, LDN UTD held FIFA try-outs with charity Street League, with a physical five-a-side tournament preceding the try-outs at London’s Red Bull Gaming Sphere.
Among other activities, the org also fields a team in the UK League of Legends tournament UKEL.
In the coming months, LDN UTD is looking to expand into new game titles and new tiers of competitive play, with Jacob expected to play a pivotal role in this strategy.
Oliver Weingarten, founder and CEO of LDN UTD, said: “As a grassroots esports org we aim to provide opportunity and accessibility to gamers of all backgrounds and give them the chance to further a career in esports, whilst aligning with societal benefits.
“With this in mind, Jacob is the hire that just makes sense. With his combination of drive, understanding and native experience of the esports space, LDN UTD will continue to accelerate in what is already a really exciting time for us, as we look to expand into more titles and raise investment.”
Jacob Harrison, chief gaming officer at LDN UTD, added: “Esports continues to expand and mature, but recent events in the space have exposed just how far we have yet to go to create an open, just and fair industry.
“With years of experience in traditional sport, the LDN UTD management team are in the perfect position to bring esports to the vanguard of social change – both within the space and outside. I am unbelievably excited to get to work with Olly and the team, to discover some great talent, raise awareness and standards on social issues I care about, and to win some tournaments in the meantime.”
Jacob left ESL UK back in 2018 – his departure was not part of ESL UK staff redundancies made late last year.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.