At the recent day-long Esports Business Symposium presented by Morgan Stanley Global Sports & Entertainment and the Esports Trade Association, Sandra L. Richards opened and closed the day with comments about the excitement surrounding Esports. Morgan Stanley has been focused on Esports for a while and certainly the pandemic heightened the focus as people turned to Esports when live sports events were put on hold.

“It definitely provides an opportunity for women and diverse populations to be involved in a space that’s growing and a space that has an opportunity for almost an even playing field,” said Richards, a managing director of Morgan Stanley and head of Global Sports & Entertainment and Segment Sales & Engagement Group in Wealth Management.

“As it’s a growing opportunity and a growing industry where you have gamers who are, at a very early age, making certain amounts of money…there’s a level of financial education that needs to come with that,” Richards said. “You have a young audience who’s in this space. Our foundation is about financial education and financial literacy.”

Morgan Stanley is working with organizations involved in Esports, and Richards anticipates forging some partnerships related to the rapidly growing Esports competitions in intercollegiate athletics.

“There are HBCUs that have created or plan on launching Esports programs,” she noted. “As we do in the collegiate space for basketball and football and across men’s and women’s sports, we do financial education sessions with many colleges right now.”

She plays a significant role in discussions about diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and there was a panel addressing DEI at the Esports symposium. She also recently took part in the Sports PR Summit, speaking on the Title IX panel.

“The focus was on how we continue to hype up women’s sports,” said Richards. There are simple things—buying tickets and merchandise—as well as pushing for more extensive media coverage. “We need to continue to get behind it.”

Last week, Richards received the Diversity Award from St. Francis College. Today, she is receiving an honorary degree from Medgar Evers College. She said these honors are testament to the sacrifices her parents, who immigrated from Jamaica in the 1960s, made for her to succeed.

Richards played basketball and volleyball in middle school and high school and said sports had a tremendous impact on her in terms of understanding team dynamics and collaboration. She praises today’s athletes for having such a positive impact on discussions around DEI and social justice.

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