Marc Hilko is having a “riot” for Riot Games Inc. in Los Angeles.
Before Hilko, a Lorain native and 2003 Lorain Catholic High School graduate, joined Riot Games, an American video game developer, publisher and esports tournament organizer, he worked making morning spots on broadcast television.
Hilko is the son of Jeff and Marci Hilko.
Since then, he has gone on to produce world events for some of Riot Games’ most popular games, such as League of Legends, which is LoL for most fans and hardcore gamers; titrant; and League of Legends: Wild Rift.
Hilko is currently the head of production for Riot Games for the company’s largest events that are broadcast online around the world.
He and the Riot Games staff have also won Emmy Awards for Best eSports Coverage three years in a row, 2018-2020.
“We have international broadcasts and tournaments and opening ceremony art performances where we might have a song, or a performance, or a new technology,” Hilko said.
In the past, Riot Games has collaborated with some of the biggest acts in music, including Imagine Dragons, A Day to Remember, and Zedd, to name a few.
The music that Riot Games and these artists create is usually kept secret until a music video is released before the League of Legends World Championship.
This year, the event kicks off on September 29 with a presentation stage in Mexico City.
There’s a lot that really goes into making a production like this, from the narratives and storytelling of each of the teams, and the professionals who play for these teams, Hilko said.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a rise in the popularity of eSports, which is one of the few events that can continue on a large scale.
However, the popularity of League of Legends exceeds even COVID-19.
The 2009 game propelled Riot Games to the top of multiplayer battle games, Hilko said.
The game has struggled to gain popularity among the likes of Call of Duty; Counter Strike Global Offensive; and TeamFortress.
All of the games have worldwide leagues similar to League of Legends and many of these eSports teams have teams in at least three of the games.
Hilko came from a broadcast media background, where he worked on many shows in Los Angeles.
“The industry is very much about who you know,” he said. “When I was working on a game show called ‘Let’s Ask America,’ oddly enough, it was airing in Cleveland.
“I was working for Victory Studios at the time that the B stage did TBS Interstitial, and my show was filmed on the A stage. I was mingling and meeting people because we worked there day in and day out.”
Hilko remembers running an office football group and that’s how he met his former manager Vince Rosenthal and his current manager Dave Stewart.
Hilko said Rosenthal and Stewart called him a few years ago and asked if he was still doing production and playing video games.
As he laughed, he remembered: “Yes, why? That’s a strange question to ask.”
Shortly after that conversation, Hilko said that he has been with Riot Games ever since, working from regional broadcasts that aired in North America and then onto the world stage.
League of Legends produces three major world events: All-Star, which can be equated to something like the MLB All Star Game; MSI (Mid-Season Invitational); and Worlds.
The traditional league season begins in January and ends with Worlds, which runs through October and into November.
The All Star event takes place in December and players get four to eight weeks off before the season starts again in January.
Hilko, who said he knew the entertainment business was where he wanted to be, has offered advice to others.
“Follow the dream, be nice to people,” he said.