A pipeline for Plains states gamers has been opened with the acquisition of Local Legends Gaming by the Unified Esports Association (UEA).
“We’ve been working Esports together for about a year and a half and kind of just realized that we have the exact same goals,” AbdulRasheed Yahaya, founder of Local Legends, said of the partnership, which closed in January and was formally announced last week.
As part of the deal, Yahaya will serve as president of Local Legends and chief business development officer for Wichita-based UEA — formerly known as Midwest Esports, led by Pipeline alum Ramsey Jamoul.
Click here to read more about UEA and its mission to bring structure and competitive opportunities to Esports.
“I’ve always been an advocate of betting on myself. If anyone’s going to lose for me, it needs to be me,” Yahaya said of his journey with Local Legends — which he left a corporate job to lead full time in 2019.
“It felt like a safe bet because I know no one’s going to work harder than me for my own personal success.”
Click here to read more about Yahaya’s entrepreneurial journey which also included a Westport gaming center.
UEA has assumed operation of the startup’s popular mobile gaming truck and education and event programming, such as the Community Esports League — which aims to offer pathways to Esports and such financial benefits as college scholarships.
“The beauty of having the backing of the association is we front the grand prizes. So it takes us away from having prize pools that are generated off of a percentage of admissions. We just put up $4,000 that way the players know that they’re going to be rewarded well for their effort put in,” he said of further perks resulting from the acquisition.
More than success for Yahaya, the acquisition of Local Legends — founded in late 2017 — signals continued growth for Esports in flyover country, he said.
“Everyone started to get online,” he said in reference to months-long Stay at Home orders and a period of pandemic that’s proven the potential of Esports. “There’s only so much homework and studying [kids] can do before they want to play games and we’re right there to provide them with a resource to connect.”
And while Yahaya’s children aren’t quite ready to consider their own entrepreneurial paths, he said he’s hopeful his work with Local Legends and the beginning of its new era will set positive examples for the three of them.
“I come from international parents. I think they may be the hardest-working individuals that I’ve ever laid eyes on — I’m sure I’m biased — but my dad was always an advocate for me being more successful than he was and my dad was a very successful, hard working man,” Yahaya said.
“I think that is one thing that’s opened my eyes as a parent to understand that our kids can literally be successful doing whatever they please. And as a parent, my job is to guide them, of course, but also support them.”
Allowing his kids to dream has been one of the most impactful things to come from Yahaya’s entrepreneurial journey, he added.
“My oldest, I really think he wants to be a YouTuber. I watch him watch other YouTubers and you can just kind of see it in his eyes,” Yahaya said. “But it lets me know that they can see that whatever makes you happy you can truly make a career out of it.”
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.