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#060: Building a Passionate eSports Community with the Immortals & LA Valiant Brands – Ari Segal

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Ari Segal – President & COO of the LA Valiant, Immortals & MIRB – @arisegal – Los Angeles, California

Podcast recorded above the butcher shop at Valley Farm Market in Spring Valley, California.


  • Ari Segal is the president and COO of the LA Valiant, LA Immortals and the MIBR team.
  • Relaunching the San Diego Gulls, Ari focused on building the community around going to the arena by making the season ticket holders feel like they were “part owners” in the team.
  • Twitch as democracy meets over the top distribution. Anybody can upload their own content and the market determines what’s good and what’s not.
  • How Twitch allows content creators to have an immersive virtual experience for their community and the residual effects it has on mainstream sports coverage.
  • Creating an experience that extends beyond the event and encourages people to interact with your brand and anticipate their next visit.
  • eSports taking the live experience of the stream and augmenting it with other live touchpoints to enable fans to take that experience and apply it to their own gameplay.
  • Using the double bottom line model to connect to the community to have a positive impact and establishing the first partnership between an esports team and a LGBTQ affiliated nonprofit The You Can Play Project.
  • The Valiant will bring the team to city by hosting one of four watch party events at Cali Comfort BBQ in Spring Valley for the Overwatch League Playoffs on July 20th.
  • Ari confirming on Twitter he’ll bathe in jalapeno BBQ sauce.

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Ari Segal

LA Valiant Website

LA Valiant Twitter

LA Valiant Instagram

LA Immortals Website

LA Immortals Twitter


AEG Worldwide

IHeartMedia San Diego

Valley View Casino Center

Levy Restaurants

Del Mar Racing

The Nerdist

Phil’s BBQ

XTRA Sports 1360

Mighty 1090



You Can Play Project

Machine Shop Ventures

Arizona Coyotes

Memphis Grizzlies

Seattle Sounders

Authentic Masterpiece

Behind The Smoke #019 – Ernie Hahn

Scott Kaplan

Bryce Blum

Nathan Beasley

Derek Dawson

Sam Kieckhefer

Craig Dado

Steve Kaplan


@BBQWarStories Weekly Social Shout Out:


Winner of a sexy new #BehindTheSmoke Mug.

Be sure to tag @bbqwarstories in all your #BehindTheSmoke photos and interact with the podcast on social for your chance to win.

Remember…if we can’t tag you then we can’t pimp you.

Shareable Quotes From This Podcast:

  • “The single most important thing to get right in sports is the making the Season ticket holder feel like an owner of the team.” {4:05} – Ari Segal
  • “The sponsorships that mean the most are a function of the principals: who are the actual people and what is the genesis of their relationship? When things are going well…that’s not what accelerates a business forward. It’s how you react when things aren’t going as well” {9:20} – Ari Segal
  • “If you want to be a transactional place, you’re going to be in out of business pretty quick” {25:49} – Derek Marso
  • “Everybody is trying to build the biggest fan base. Let’s build the most passionate fan base.” {37:03} – Ari Segal
  • “It’s easy to execute on the ground when [the] infrastructure is in place and stable. {17:54} – Ari Segal
  • “Do you know when people in a typical work week peak in terms of happiness? It’s actually thursday night or friday morning. It’s because they’re anticipating the weekend. ” {49:24} – Ari Segal
  • “I’m listening to someone talking about breaking down a hog and it makes me hungry? That’s completely irrational, but it’s because in my mind, our brain does gymnastics for us, right? Our brain starts a journey. {50:52} – Ari Segal
  • “It’s easy if you’re consistent. I’m telling this community, we share your values, so I have to back that up.” {1:10:57} – Ari Segal

LA Valiant Watch Party at Cali Comfort BBQ

Facebook Event:


The Los Angeles Valiant have claimed the Pacific Division Championship and now they turn their focus to the Overwatch League Grand Finals. With a first round bye, the LA Valiant are starting play in the semi-finals and need your energy to propel them to Brooklyn.

For Match 2, LA Valiant fans are uniting at the Cali Comfort BBQ to cheer the team on to victory and celebrate a successful regular season

Everyone in attendance will receive: a free domestic beer or soda, 20% off all food and beverage, a Valiant team poster, shop ‘til you drop at the Valiant merch truck, participate in games to earn free Valiant swag, and more!

Not only are you supporting the Valiant, you’re helping to raise money for a good cause, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to directly to the organization to continue their mission that no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.

Don’t C9. Buy your tickets today!

Get in Touch:

Shawn P. Walchef –  @shawnpwalchef  on Twitter

Derek Marso – @marsoderek on Twitter

Cory Wagner – @iamcorywagner on Twitter

Bryan Abou Charca – @kinglordbryan

Behind The Smoke Media

Valley Farm Market – 9040 Campo Road, Spring Valley, CA 91977

Cali Comfort BBQ – 8910 Troy Street, Spring Valley, CA 91977

Honorable Mentions & BBQ Business Resources:

Behind The Smoke Media BBQ Business Resources

3rd Annual Turf & Surf BBQ Championship @DelMarRacing #BETonBBQ

9th Annual Spring Valley Tailgate & BBQ Festival #SVBBQFest

  • California’s Largest Annual Amatuer Tailgate & BBQ Competition
  • Date: Sunday, October 28, 2018
  • Request our Sponsorship Deck:

BBQ Pits & Grills we use at Cali Comfort BBQ & Valley Farm Market

Restaurant Operations Resources:

BBQ Business Resources:



Behind The Smoke: BBQ War Stories Logo Branding



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About the author, Bryan Abou Chacra

Passionate about all aspects of media production with over 15 years experience.

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