European Business: Mr. Treur, every career needs a spark to start it off. In your case it was a broken leg. What happened?
René Treur: Back in 2003 I used to play football until the accident happened. As a result of my accident I was stuck at home with a leg in plaster and ended up playing a lot of online-games, mainly Counter Strike. Because I had so much time on my hands I quickly improved to a higher level and started competing as a member of a team. Eventually I quit as back then you could not make a living out of it, but I kept a close eye on the gaming scene.
European Business: When did you venture into broadcasting?
René Treur: A former sponsor got in touch and asked me to host a show on Esports tournaments. This was in 2010 and we were still a bit amateurish. It was fun for sure and we gained a lot of experience. On a national level the big breakthrough was six years later when a big Dutch networking company presented a tournament where people could qualify for a FIFA Match in the sports arena right before an actual football game between Ajax Amsterdam and PSV Eindhoven. I ended up doing the live commentary and it was the first time I was live on national television as a host. 53,000 people watched the game live from the stands aswell as hundreds of thousands of people at home and I was really nervous, but it went well. Although I work mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium today, I now travel to various countries as a commentator regularly.
Gaming fans nominated me to be an Olympic torchbearer in 2012 during the opening ceremony. Only ten torchbearers got selected out of 250 nominees and I was chosen. René Treur
European Business: In a way your growing popularity has led to one very ‘special’ job.
René Treur: That’s right [laughs]. Gaming fans nominated me to be an Olympic torchbearer in 2012 during the opening ceremony. Only ten Dutch torchbearers got selected out of over 250 nominees and I was chosen. I carried it in Sunderland in June 2012 for half a mile. It was an amazing experience. There were so many people and security and I was quite nervous. We all had to wait at a certain spot and people at the side of road wanted to take photos with me, it was fantastic.
European Business: Speaking about fans. Do people recognize you outside the studio?
René Treur: Yes, young FIFA fans ask me in the streets to take a selfie with them. It doesn’t happen often but every couple of months. It makes me realize that something special is happening.
European Business: There are discussions about the status of Esports as an actual sport. What is your opinion on that?
René Treur: Esports incorporates all the things that are great about traditional sports, although the players might not meet the standard image of an athlete. People often can’t imagine how professional the top players are. Some of them have been playing for over a decade and are improving every year. The level of what they are doing can’t even be grasped simply by watching them, you have to play against them to fully understand.
People often can’t imagine how professional the top players are. Some of them have been playing for over a decade and are improving every year. René Treur
European Business: Will Esports become as popular as it already is in other parts of the world?
René Treur: In Asia and America Esports are already way bigger than in most parts of Europe. If it follows the global trend we will have 24/7 Esports TV-channels soon, more talk shows about teams and players, press conferences. I expect to see more professionalism when it comes to the management of Esports players and teams.
European Business: What about your own plans?
René Treur: It’s good that I found my professional niche when it was just a hobby. I imagine that I will be booked for more and more international events. I’m confident to make the transition to traditional sports and comment on real sports events.