There is a prejudice that people get when they say they want to build their careers around video games and esports. The criticism always comes with a lecture on how such a career only leads to a dead-end. However, James Paul Baratta is among the individuals who broke through the doubts and has made a living with esports.
Video games are something that James had always been passionate about. Like others, he loved the escapism that games offered from reality as it also gave him a sense of accomplishment. While he would find success in esports, James initially built his career as a civil litigation attorney.
James Paul Baratta studied at the University of Southern California to obtain his BA in International Relations before going to Loyola Law School in Loyola Marymount University to get his degree as a Juris Doctor. He also worked as a business affairs associate at the Santa Monica-based Universal Music Publishing Group. James negotiated with major organizations about copyright deals in the emerging digital music landscape.
Despite having a tremendous career and making a stable income as an attorney, he always felt that something was lacking. He decided to transition out of law and into esports. James began his venture through Bungie’s Destiny, a game where he and his friends favored a sniper rifle called ‘The Icebreaker.’ The bond they shared and their love for the in-game weapon inspired them to form a clan called ICEBRKRSCLAN.
Together, they ran social media accounts where they frequently posted clips of their gameplay. The clan expanded, bringing in a roster of content creators and competitive players and gaining more than 2M followers. Their clan serves as a gathering for people of all backgrounds and acts as a social media marketing vehicle to Millennials and Gen Z.
As James helped build the clan, he also consulted for an entertainment law firm. Talents from Granderson des Rochers started to grow interested in gaming, and the firm sought his consultation. Shortly after, FaZe Clan seed investor Dave Chen partnered with James Baratta to found the North American Collegiate, or NACL. This nonprofit organization offers college gamers with esports scholarship opportunities through international tournaments. There James serves as a board of director for the organization. NACL partnered with Huomao, an Asian streaming giant, and would yield 500k to 1.5 million viewers per tournament each month. The success brought in opportunities that saw the NACL feature in Yahoo finance and partners.
Outside of NACL, James acts as the director of talent for VY Esports, a global gaming and esports company, for their event, Edge. He demonstrated his esports network’s strength and got several big names in esports to feature in Edge.
James Paul Baratta has been busy, actively consulting in business development for XSET and The Esport Network. He is also the head of user acquisition for software developer Wizard Labs and is the new VP of Special Events for XR Sports. Recently, James has accepted a role at the University of California Irvine to become an adjunct professor of esports.
With the amount of work and success that he’s had, James Paul Baratta hopes to be an example of someone who changed his career and succeeded in his passion.
To find out more about James Paul Baratta, you may connect with him on LinkedIn.