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Exploring the Unique World of Esports in Connecticut

Business Building With Mark Kilpatrick

Mark, founder of Affinity Esports, is a lifelong gamer and advocate of the benefits that healthy gaming can deliver. 

He saw an opportunity to equip gamers of all generations and backgrounds with the access and tools to develop a well-rounded set of skills and experiences to take into the world. Today he’s creating spaces where gaming is used as a tool for good.

1

Tell us about yourself

In May of 2021, I moved to Sandy Hook with my family (wife Emily, and daughters Zoey and Lily). After ten years of living and working in New York City, we made the big transition. Shortly after, in November of 2021, I launched Affinity Esports, Connecticut’s premier organization for happier and healthier gaming.

2

What makes esports unique?

There are many parallels between esports and traditional sports in terms of practice regiments and routines, teamwork, and communication, and the actual competition against other teams and players. What makes it so unique within the broader world of gaming is how it opens players up to a team-based environment within a safe and structured environment that’s built for anyone and everyone. 

The decision to focus our efforts here has been one filled with pride and an intense obligation to not squander the beautiful opportunity before us. 

3

Talk about building this business

Launching an organization focused on “competitive organized video games” has many, many challenges. And through those challenges, both big and small, there’s been a theme of success and support, encouragement and elation, and a contagious desire to “become involved in whatever way possible”. And this is the true spirit of building a business in Connecticut. It’s the people and the communities in which you operate. That, paired with the amazing resources available from state and municipal programs, can make this a powerful place to make your mark.

4

Have you found a fulfilling work/life balance here?

Absolutely! There has been a lot of intent and consideration placed behind developing Affinity Esports in Connecticut. There was a massive opportunity! But more importantly, this decision has allowed me the ability to solidify the organization’s vision and chart a clear course for its future. In large part this vision is intrinsically tied to my work/life balance and the culture I want to instill as we grow. It has kept me close to my family, allowed me to build something tangible that they can see, feel, and be a part of, and has me deeply connected with the community and state that we now call home. With everything in perspective, the right moderation, and balance to keep the scales in check, I’m right where I need to be.

I couldn’t be in a better place for my well-being as I continue this journey.

5

What does CT offer the next generation of business builders like yourself?

It offers energy, opportunity, and resources for anyone brave enough to dream, invent, wonder, and explore. The day I decided to focus my business here, with great guidance from the Small Business Development Council, was a breakthrough for our organization. It gave us purpose and focus beyond imagination! From that time, we have tapped into the countless resources the state has to offer (funding, grants, advising, etc.), the deep talent/knowledge pool, the educational system (with partners like Post University), various municipalities, and many other organizations and individuals ready to support us in any way possible. We, in turn, play our part in continuing the Connecticut story by growing esports and paving the way for more entrepreneurs.

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