“Back in the ’90s, when I wasn’t playing Nintendo games or football, I was reading about them. I amassed hundreds of games magazines over the years, back when YouTube, Twitch, Reddit and Twitter – heck, even the internet – didn’t exist.”
My story – from games fan to editor
Hello! My name is Dominic Sacco (though unless you’re my wife or my parents, you probably just call me Dom). I’m a 34-year-old award-winning esports journalist, editor, content creator, speaker, interviewer and author, based in the UK.
I love writing, digging for interesting news, telling important stories and conducting interviews that really capture the subject’s honest thoughts and emotions. I’m the founder of Esports News UK, the UK Esports Awards and work as head of content at the British Esports Association.
But before all that, we have to go back to the ’90s.
When I wasn’t playing Nintendo games or football, I was reading about them. I amassed hundreds and hundreds of games magazines over the years, back when YouTube, Twitch, Reddit and Twitter – heck, even the internet – didn’t exist.
Games were my escape. And back then magazines were where you got the latest news and knowledge from. At school, English and Media Studies were subjects I excelled in – so that’s when I started thinking about becoming a journalist. More specifically, a games journalist.
At 14 years old I visited the offices of Nintendo Official Magazine (see above, back when I still had hair) and that led to work experience there a few years later. I had found my dream job and set my sights on becoming a games journalist.
University and first jobs
After studying BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism at Bournemouth University, carrying out work experience at newspapers, radio stations and magazines, and picking up a national award for designing a new magazine (see a picture of Leet here), I went on the hunt for a games journalism role.
Unfortunately, at the time, there weren’t any games magazines hiring. So I got a job at Auto Trader of all places (I’m not sure how, as I don’t know anything about cars). There, I cut my teeth in journalism. My next goal was to move into games and become an editor.
In early 2010, I applied for a job at games industry trade publication MCV – and got it. I worked up the ranks at Intent Media over the next few years, eventually becoming an editor at tech title PC Retail. Here, I also began speaking at industry conferences and chairing panels, building up valuable experience.
During my first eight years of full-time work, I wrote thousands of articles (see some highlights here), launched campaigns like ToyNews’ ‘Fight the Fakes’ and PCR’s ‘Women in Tech’ awards, oversaw magazine and website redesigns, managed teams, interviewed hundreds of individuals and broke several stories that went national.
But I wanted more. My next goal was to launch my own publication.
Esports News UK, Founder and Editor
In late 2015 I turned my old gaming blog – launched from an idea for an online gaming magazine that netted me a student award – into a full news website.
At the time, I was a huge fan of League of Legends and I noticed that the UK scene around the online game had no real home. Thus, Esports News UK was born, a site focused on UK League of Legends featuring news, interviews, opinion pieces and more. I broke out of my comfort zone and began producing videos and streams (you can see some of my notable video work here).
In 2018, Esports News UK received recognition at the 2018 UK Blog Awards, being named ‘Highly Commended’ by the judges in the Social Influencer – Business category.
This site is still going strong today; as founder and editor I run it in my spare time with a great team of volunteers and freelancers helping out.
Read more about Esports News UK including info on the team and testimonials here
British Esports Association, Head of Content
In 2016 I was contacted by Chester King, who had just founded the British Esports Association, a not-for-profit set up to promote and improve grassroots esports in the UK. He wanted me on board.
As someone passionate about this area, I now had the opportunity to make a real difference to the industry here, beyond just writing articles. I jumped at the chance and haven’t looked back since.
During my time at British Esports, I helped launch the website, including writing most of what’s on there, from advice to interviews and more. I’ve seen the team grow and been responsible for a lot of our output as head of content.
I’ve helped shout about the British Esports Championships for schools and colleges, inspiring students to get involved, and have seen some great initiatives come out of the association including our Women in Esports campaign, a sports/esports crossover with West Ham United Foundation and lots more.
Work as an author & my debut novel Turning Red
I am a big World of Warcraft fan and have played the game on and off since its launch.
I absolutely adore everything about the rogue class, elves, stealth characters and mechanics in video games, but I wanted to create a character that doesn’t follow that typical archetype. Someone flawed, with potential.
So I created Phoenix Bloodheart – my World of Warcraft roleplay character. Back in 2018, someone asked me what her backstory was. She didn’t really have one at the time, so I started writing something and… it got a bit out of hand to say the least. Two years of work (in my limited spare time!) and 120,000 words later, I ended up with a book.
It’s a high fantasy piece of fan fiction called ‘Turning Red’, a tragedy about a short-tempered rogue, and I would love for you to have a read and let me know what you think. It’s free to download.
I owe this book to two of my old guildmates, Ash and Crow, whom I miss dearly.
I co-founded the UK Esports Awards back in 2018 with Adam ‘Blanks’ Heath, an event recognising talent in the UK esports scene. Year 1 was a success and it was a lot of fun, but with so much else on my plate, I decided to step away from the team later in 2018. There’s more info on that here.
I’ve also done several bits of paid freelance work over the years, including writing articles for the likes of Riot Games, Red Bull, Betway and more.
Events have brought me experience too. I’ve moderated panels at conferences (like Esports Insider, above, and other industry events) and given various talks, including a guest lecture on journalism at the University of Chichester.
I have also worked as a consultant. While I don’t have time for consultancy work these days, outside of Esports News UK and the British Esports Association and my personal life, it may be something I pick up again in the future.
You can read more about my other work on Dominic Sacco’s LinkedIn page
Behind the keyboard
So you’ve read about Dom Sacco the worker, what about who I am behind the keyboard?
Well, I’m a big Arsenal fan (pictured above with my dad, ahead of the Community Shield match versus Chelsea in 2017), I played for several football teams growing up, including Intersports FC (fun fact, I designed their latest logo when I was 10 years old!), and it’s fair to say I love the beautiful game.
I am also a dad myself now, to three amazing children (two newborn twins and a three-nager!) so I don’t have a lot of free time for playing games these days. But when I do, I love to play on the PS4, Nintendo Switch and, of course, League of Legends on the PC.
I’m also partial to a bit of badminton, horror, fantasy and punk rock (and metal)!