Featured Speakers

Featured Speakers and Sessions offer some of the most forward-thinking, inspiring, and exciting presentations at SXSW Gaming. Reintroduced for the 2018 SXSW Gaming Festival, who all will we see at next year’s event?

Featured Speakers

An Interview with Phil Spencer, SXSW 2014 - Photo by Rich Denis

About Featured Speakers


SXSW Gaming speakers come from all over the globe. When you attend the dozens of panels, meet ups, and talks throughout next year’s event, expect to hear from the top industry experts, personalities, esports players, developers, authors, legends, and much, much more.

2018 marks the return of the Featured Speakers format to the programming lineup. Former featured speakers have included world-renowned individuals such as Phil Spencer (Head of Xbox, Microsoft Studios), Jade Raymond (Former Managing Director, Ubisoft and Founder, Motive Studios), and Andrew Wilson (CEO, EA). With new speakers revealed each month, follow this webpage for the latest information on all SXSW Gaming Featured Speakers.

Want to see other great programming found at SXSW Gaming 2018? Browse our 2018 SXSW Gaming Schedule!

SXSW Gaming 2018 takes place in the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas from Thursday, March 15 – Saturday, March 17.


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Join us March 15-17 to experience the best in gaming culture featuring a sprawling Gaming Expo, a one-of-a-kind awards show, unmatched industry programming and more. Get your official SXSW Gaming Wristband today!

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Explore the 2018 SXSW Gaming Schedule

Browse the full lineup of unique sessions, panels, awards, tournaments, special events, and much more for SXSW Gaming 2018. Begin building your custom schedule today!

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SXSW Gaming 2018 Featured Speakers


Christina Alejandre (GM of ELEAGUE & VP of Esports, Turner Sports)

Christina Alejandre joined Turner Sports in March 2016 as General Manager of ELEAGUE and Vice President of Esports. In this role, she leads the development and strategy for ELEAGUE, a transformative esports tournament brand created in partnership with IMG. She is responsible for business operations, content and program strategy for ELEAGUE, as well as the pursuit of new esports opportunities.

Steve Arhancet (Co-CEO and Owner, Team Liquid)

As co-CEO and owner of Team Liquid, Arhancet has helped define what it means to be a new media organization and leader in esports. Arhancet is a pioneer as an esports team owner by being the first to implement support systems and structures that have become the industry standard. More than training elite esports athletes, Arhancet turns players into bona-fide internet personalities through his focus on content and influencer strategy. Most of all, Arhancet is the architect of Team Liquid’s ascendancy as the most successful esports franchise with over $17 million dollars in prize money won and over 1,000 official tournaments attended.

Rick Fox (Partner at VVP, Echo Fox owner)

NBA champion and current owner of esports outfit Echo Fox, Rick Fox has blazed a trail from traditional sports into the esports arena with Echo Fox represented
in the League of Legends North American LCS along with other top esports leagues. He is also a seasoned TV and film actor, producer and analyst for NBA TV, and a successful entrerpreneur and investor. Rick will be interviewed by Lang Whitaker, the general manager for Grizz Gaming, the Memphis Grizzlies’ team for the upcoming NBA2K League.

Brendan Donohue (Managing Director, NBA 2K League) with Manny Anekal

As Managing Director of the NBA 2K League, Brendan Donohue is responsible for overseeing the newly formed esports league set to launch in 2018. Donohue, a sports industry veteran with more than two decades of experience in team and league operations, manages a league that will feature 17 NBA teams in its inaugural season. Prior to assuming his current role in April 2017, Donohue served as SVP of the NBA’s industry-renowned Team Marketing & Business Operations (TMBO) department. Donohue will be interviewed by Manny Anekal, founder and CEO of The Next Level.

Brendan Greene (Creative Director, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS)

Brendan Greene, a.k.a. PLAYERUNKNOWN, is the Creative Director of the breakout hit PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG). PUBG has become one of the most popular video games in the world, breaking multiple Guinness World Records and taking the gaming and live streaming communities by storm. In addition to his role as Creative Director, Brendan serves as an ambassador and spokesperson for PUBG.

Sam Mathews (Founder and Chairman, Fnatic)

Sam Mathews is the founder and chairman of Fnatic, regarded as the leading brand within Esports. Launched in 2004, Fnatic manages pro-gamers and has won thousands of tournaments across more than 20 games, the most of any organisation. In November 2015, Fnatic became the first team within Esports to launch its own line of hardware products, Fnatic Gear, through Indiegogo.

Nate Nanzer (Commissioner, Overwatch League)

Serving as the Commissioner of the Overwatch League, Nate Nanzer leads the cross-discipline esports effort for the team-based shooter. Nate began developing plans for an Overwatch esports program in his spare time while working in Blizzard’s marketing department, and has now turned that passion into a full-time role. He oversees the strategy, development, and execution of Overwatch esports for all levels of play, and is responsible for everything from partnerships to competition rules.

Rahul Sood (CEO, Unikrn)

Rahul Sood is the CEO of Unikrn, a Seattle-based esports startup. Unikrn’s mission is to heighten the experience of watching and participating in esports. Unikrn is venture-backed and raised a total of 10 million dollars with investors such as Ashton Kutcher, Mark Cuban, Liz Murdoch, Shari Redstone, Binary Capital and many others. In October of 2017, it was announced that Unikrn sold over 127 million Unikoins in the biggest token sale in esports and video games.

Pete Vlastelica (President and CEO, MLG)

Pete Vlastelica is President and CEO of Major League Gaming (MLG), a division of Activision Blizzard devoted to creating the best esports experiences for fans across games, platforms and geographies. Prior to MLG, Vlastelica was the Executive Vice President of Digital at FOX Sports, where he focused on content and product development, social media, technology, and creation of multi-platform content properties, including the Emmy-award winning “Garbage Time with Katie Nolan.” He directed the growth of FOXSports.com and the mobile app FOX Sports Go, where he oversaw the streaming of thousands of live sporting events, including Super Bowl XLVIII, which set a new internet record for streaming viewers for a sporting event.

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