The long-time part of Voodoo's production team moves to head live events for the fledgling Overwatch League.
Friday, festival director Sig Greenebaum announced his resignation from Voodoo on Facebook. “I have been offered a new opportunity with Blizzard Entertainment as the Head of Global Live Events for Overwatch League, the first ever professional E-sports league. As I make this transition I want thank everyone at C3 Presents, especially the 3 Charlie's and my amazing partner Don Kelly for one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life. I am so proud of what we accomplished with Voodoo and honored to have worked with best of the best.”
Greenebaum has been associated with Voodoo since 2000 and a producer since 2007. He stayed with the festival when Rehage Entertainment sold a majority share of Voodoo to Live Nation, and he and fellow producer Don Kelly were retained when festival founder Stephen Rehage and Live Nation parted ways and C3 Presents took over Voodoo. He was not, he says, looking to leave Voodoo or get out of the festival business.
“I had been so happy with where we got with C3 and Voodoo last year, and the next two years for what Don Kelly and I were doing with C3,” Greenebaum said by phone. “[Leaving] wasn’t on my radar, but an opportunity presented itself and I had to take a look at it.”
Greenebaum had been with Voodoo through periods of transition including the years in City Park’s Marconi Meadows, 2005’s festivals in Memphis and on the Fly, the post-Katrina years in City Park with an expanded New Orleans component, the growth of electronic dance music as a market force coming at the same that rock receded as one, and the challenging years on City Park’s Festival Grounds, where the smaller footprint caused soundbleed issues. He was a part of the Voodoo team that had to cancel the festival’s last day due to mud in 2015, and was there as Voodoo moved from one of the relatively few large modern rock festivals in the country to one of many within a 500 mile radius.
For those who aren’t gamers, the idea of moving to e-sports might seem like a sideways move at best, and a move to live e-sports events may sound improbable, but it has quietly become big business. More than 27 million people watched the 2014 League of Legends championship when ESPN broadcast it—bigger audiences than game seven of the World Series and the NBA Finals that year. According to Forbes.com, this year’s Intel Extreme Masters World Championship 2017 in Katowice, Poland drew a live audience of 173,000—“that’s about 100,000 more than the Super Bowl last year,” Forbes noted—and another 46 million viewers online. Since Overwatch passed the 30 million users mark in April, it’s poised for similar success.
“As somebody who is in live events and marketing and new technology, over the last couple of years I’ve been aware of e-sports and this thing that’s attracting 20,000 people to Madison Square Gardens, and a million people watching it live on a live stream,” Greenebaum says. “The future of that is wide open. It’s the next thing, so to get a call about it and participating in what I have been calling a moonshot—the first ever professional e-sports league on a global level—man, that is just compelling.”
Greenebaum might not be entirely out of the festival promotion game, though. He has been a part of Gleason Gras since its inaugural year in 2011. Because of his relationship with Gleason and Team Gleason, he would like to stay involved if he can, though at this early stage of his relationship with Blizzard, it’s too early to know for sure.
“I don’t think anybody will say I can’t do it,” Greenebaum says. “Don and I have kept it going forward. As we moved into C3, we just did it. If it’s going to happen, I’ll do my best to be there to host it because it’s got nothing to do with anything except for my love for Gleason.”