AbdulRasheed Yahaya never doubted his non-traditional career had mileage, but the KC eSports pioneer couldn’t have envisioned it would drive him to a Super Bowl, he said — let alone one set to feature the Kansas City Chiefs.
Midwest eSports, based in Wichita, is a pipeline for collegiate and amateur players to turn competitive video games into a healthy, structured and educational sport. Its founder, Ramsey Jamoul, recently graduated from the 2019 Pipeline fellowship.
“By God’s grace, I get to be a role model to the youth, [show them] that an African American man can lead the evolution of eSports [and align it] with field sports,” said Yahaya, founder of Local Legends Gaming and chief business development officer for Midwest eSports, detailing a coming trip that will see him representing his day job — STEM and eSports — during a convening of professional athletes this Super Bowl weekend in Miami.
The presentation will focus on the intersection between STEM careers and the eSports space, highlighting opportunities for youth play in leagues and regional events run by Midwest eSports, Yahaya said.
“We’re aligning eSports with football on the most important day of any pro player’s season,” he said in anticipation of the once-in-a-lifetime trip.
“This is major. It doesn’t get any bigger than this,” Yahaya said. “Kansas City is sending its No. 1 gaming company and its pro ball team to the Super Bowl!”
Click here to read about Kansas City businesses celebrating the Chiefs historic run.
Additionally, Local Legends — Yahaya’s mobile gaming truck startup — will host a Madden NFL tournament for kids and NFL all-stars, further elevating Kansas City as an emerging eSports hub, Yahaya explained.
“I’m putting Kansas City on everyone in the industry’s radar as a premier eSports resource and no longer just a ‘flyover city,’” he said.
Yahaya closed a Westport brick-and-mortar incarnation of Local Legends after several months of operation in 2019, citing a shift in direction for the startup.
Had such events not transpired as they did, the founder isn’t sure he’d have been on track to achieve a milestone like the Miami trip, he said.
“It’s all in God’s plan. He wouldn’t bring me through anything he didn’t plan to lead me through,” Yahaya said.
Click here to read more about Yahaya’s decision to change directions.
As for the big game itself, there’s no way Kansas City doesn’t bring home the Lombardi trophy, he added.
“My Chiefs are winning 24 to 14,” he predicted.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.