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Renowned Journalist to Teach Esports Integrity Course at the University
Richard Lewis, a veteran British esports journalist, livestream commentator, podcaster, and editor-at-large for an award-winning esports and gaming website, is looking forward to inspiring the next generation of esports professionals at the University of New Haven.
November 17, 2021
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
When Richard Lewis was growing up, he loved sports, describing himself as a “jock.” Instead of becoming a star on the field, he went on to build a successful career as an investigative journalist covering esports and exposing match-fixing scandals and corruption in the industry. He will soon be helping to train the next generation of esports professionals as a lecturer at the University of New Haven.
Lewis began his career as a freelance journalist, writing about the emergence of online gaming communities. His work brought him deep into the gaming world, enabling him to play games and meet many “strange and interesting people.” When he entered the world of Counter-Strike, a series of multiplayer first-person shooter games, he began to notice corruption as money flowed into esports.
“The demographic was young adults and kids, and people do nefarious things to exploit the naïve,” he said. “What surprised me is that exposing the corruption wasn’t always met with applause. It was sometimes met with derision. Kids didn’t want to see people they looked up to involved in this.”
Lewis is perhaps best known for his key role in exposing match-fixing in a 2014 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) match between North American teams iBUYPOWER and NetcodeGuides.com. Although iBUYPOWER was favored to win, the team was defeated by a wide margin. Because of the scandal, several players were permanently banned from competition.
“People were adamant this team wouldn’t throw or fix a match, but it was so obvious they had,” explains Lewis. “When I revealed the evidence, I thought it would be a slam dunk, but I ended up arguing with the public. I was right, and it took me six months to prove it. I felt more like a detective than a reporter, and I hope this gave everyone more awareness.”
‘I hope students will get something they won’t get elsewhere’
Throughout his career, Lewis has reported on everything from unethical practices to sexual abuse in esports, and he has exposed several scandals. A passionate storyteller, he also is a podcaster and livestream commentator, and he serves as the inaugural editor-at-large for Dexerto, an award-winning website that covers esports, gaming, and influencers.
Lewis, who has spoken widely about his work and the industry as a guest lecturer, has seen firsthand many aspects of the esports industry. He is excited to share his unique experiences with students at the University of New Haven.
“I know how to tell a story so that it holds people’s attention, and I’m looking forward to translating that to the classroom,” he said. “I will leverage my real-life experiences and share with students my anecdotes and what I’ve learned. I have 16 years’ experience in a business that’s only about 20 years old, and I hope students will get something they won’t get elsewhere.”
‘I hope they will make a meaningful impact on the industry’
"At the University of New Haven, we are building the best sports integrity center in the world,” said Dr. Hill. “As part of that drive we have some of the top international and American experts in fighting sports corruption. Richard Lewis is one of them. His courageous, single-handed investigations into match-fixing in esports is the stuff of legends. If you want to have your mind explode then take this man's course."
Instructed by academics and high-level practitioners, the University’s Master’s in Esports Business program, the first such program of its kind, prepares students to navigate the interactions between diverse industry stakeholders and succeed as employees and future leaders in esports and esports-adjacent industries.
“The opportunity to welcome Richard Lewis as a faculty member in our M.S. in Esports Business program is a boon to our students,” said Jason Chung, B.C.L., LL.B., executive director of esports and an assistant professor of sport management. “Richard’s credentials as an investigative journalist uncovering corruption and match-fixing in the CS:GO scene has been critical to industry recognition of the importance of integrity and ethics in esports. We look forward to integrating Richard into our program and having him train the next generation of esports leaders on this critical issue."
Lewis, who has twice received the Esports Journalist of the Year award, earned the Esports Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020. Still, he admits that he is a bit “jaded about the future of esports” after what he has seen. He believes it is crucial to be honest with students about all facets of esports and to inspire them to foster change – and integrity – in the industry.
"We need better people coming into esports,” he said. “I’ve been fighting that battle a long time. It’s important for young people to shape society, and that’s true for esports, too. I hope to connect with the next generation in esports. I hope they can learn to identify issues early on and that we can fix them. I hope they will make a meaningful impact on the industry, and I hope I can inspire that.”