Nicola Piggott, Head of E-Sports Communications, Riot Games
As Riot's first ever head of communications for e-sports, Nicola has pioneered and leads a team that manages the demanding communications around the highest-profile e-sports company in the world—with little to no precedence within the space. Nicola’s strength has been in her ability to juggle the PR challenges of a sport in its infancy, watched by millions of fans around the world, while still innovating and raising the bar in communications discipline. She’s highly trusted by players, co-workers and partners alike, running over 50 events per year and earning the respect of industry peers and leaders.
Through building patient and long-term relationships with mainstream media, focusing on education rather than quick hits, Nicola has been able to demand some watershed moments for e-sports within the mainstream media. As an example, ESPN Magazine’s recent e-sports issue featured a cover piece on League of Legends player Faker, a nine-page feature written over a few months of profiling the player with all the care and dedication that ESPN would normally reserve for traditional athletes. Also, in 2014 Nicola’s relationship with Playboy writer Harold Goldberg resulted in Playboy investing in an in-depth profile of pro gaming team Cloud9, including following them on the pro circuit for more than five months. In 2015, Riot brought the North American League Championship Series (LCS) Finals to Madison Square Garden. This was the first time an e-sports event had sold out the legendary New York venue. The coverage highlight was a live interview with the commentators and winning pro gamers on ESPN’s Sports Center live from MSG. This was a huge moment of pride for the industry and was due to bridges Nicola has been carefully building with mainstream sports outlets.