NEW YORK -- Hal Biagas, former assistant general counsel at the National Basketball Players Association, will be the first head of the players association for Riot Games' North American League Championship Series.
Riot announced the launch of the players association on June 1, as part of its new franchising model for the NA LCS. They will provide the funding for the players association, at least initially, and proposed three candidates to lead the association.
Those candidates made presentations at a NA LCS players summit at Riot's headquarters last week, and Biagas emerged the winner after a round of player voting.
"I was contacted by some of the people at Riot, who I guess had heard of me through mutual relationships," Biagas said. "And they asked if it'd be something I'd be interested in. I definitely was.
"I had the opportunity to present to the players last week, and thought it went really well. They asked a lot of really good questions about what this would all mean for them. And here I am -- I guess I answered [the questions] pretty well."
After spending nearly 13 years with the NBPA, Biagas left in 2009 to join the Wasserman Media Group. Three years later he moved to Excel Sports Management, where he represented Jason Kidd, among others. Earlier this year he left Excel to start his own agency, Sideline Sports Management.
"There've been a lot of NBA-affiliated people that have been looking to get involved with esports generally, through team purchases or otherwise," Biagas said. "It's something I've been aware of to a fairly large degree. I didn't know everything -- I spent quite a bit of time in preparing for the meeting, and just expanding my knowledge base. But I'd say I was fairly knowledgeable for someone who didn't play [esports]."
Biagas plans to meet with the NA LCS players again as soon as possible, now that he's gotten the job, and sounds bullish about the future of the players association.
"Esports certainly fits within the model of the more traditional sports, in terms of how revenue is generated and the players are compensated," he said. "I don't think there's a lot of variance across sports in that sense.
"I think there will be some new and different challenges -with any new venture there's always some unanticipated challenges that you have to address. But I don't think it's anything that myself and the players won't be prepared for and be able to surmount fairly easily."