By Caroline King

Brandon Smith and Richard Buckley, two ambitious BA (Hons) Multimedia Sports Journalism graduates, are blazing a trail to conquer the billion-dollar eSports industry. Since winning an EA Sports commentary competition in 2017, they’ve travelled all over the world to commentate at major events in arenas full of enthusiastic FIFA fans, including the FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final in 2018, becoming recognisable voices to millions of FIFA players everywhere.

In our exclusive chat with the pair, they gave insight into the world of eSports, and provided advice for those keen to follow in their footsteps. 

Starting at the beginning, Brandon explained: “We've kind of jumped into this completely new world which is booming and growing; we’re still doing a job in journalism because we're doing a broadcast career in something that we both really wanted to do. I was presented an opportunity to do some online FIFA commentating and I asked Richard to join me, and then it kind of went on from there.”

Reflecting on some his experiences before joining UCFB, Brandon added: “I did a local radio sports show when I was 16 and 17 years old and that set me up in terms of speaking, making sure that I got specific times for the show, guest bookings, interviewing people. All the little things that you don't realise that you're doing at the time, they helped me when I came to do the sports commentary.”

Through their experiences the pair recognised how important it was to be open to exploring different options that aligned with their interests. As Richard describes, had he not taken the chance to join forces with Brandon then as a duo they wouldn’t be where they are today.  

Richard added: “I came to UCFB with no intention of getting into this, it was very much like a ‘just say yes’ train and never turn down an opportunity. When Brandon came to me and said he was doing this FIFA League online and that there's pretty much no money to it, it was just an experience. If I had said ‘no’ then this would’ve never happened, we’d have never got into this position and probably never have been the duo we are now.”

Brandon went on to explain how he was able to maximise his time at UCFB through exploring all possible avenues that came his way, such as work experience opportunities. “You've got three years to kind of shape and try things out,” he added. “In my first year I would try out a number of different opportunities, and towards the end of that first year that's when the eSports stuff started to come.”

With their achievements as eSports commentators so far, both Brandon and Richard attribute how fundamental their experience at UCFB has been in driving their success. UCFB allowed them to meet new people with similar ambitions and goals, which has been crucial in terms of networking and developing critical connections.

Brandon added: “I saw an advert for UCFB and thought that's going to be the best opportunity I've got to make something going forward. I'm going to meet like-minded individuals who want to do something similar to me.”