GAAM Gladiators – Jacksonville’s Biggest Esports Event

This case study examines GAAM Gladiators, a significant milestone for esports in Jacksonville, with a particular emphasis on its groundbreaking contributions to accessibility in the esports industry. Drawing from previous experiences with event accessibility challenges and leveraging insights gained from other accessibility initiatives, GAAM Gladiators aimed to foster inclusivity and accessibility within the esports community.

This case study highlights the introduction of American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation during the livestream of the finals, the development of a dedicated esports event as a spin-off from the larger GAAM Show, and the implementation of innovative processes and design elements.

Additionally, the study explores how GAAM Gladiators successfully transitioned into an online gaming league during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing a safe outlet for students with medical risks. The results demonstrate the positive impact of prioritizing accessibility and inclusivity within the esports landscape.


GAAM Gladiators represents a significant milestone for the esports industry in Jacksonville, focusing on fostering accessibility and inclusivity. This case study delves into the key initiatives undertaken by GAAM Gladiators to enhance accessibility and their transformative impact on the esports community.

Promoting Inclusivity

Based on past experiences, GAAM Gladiators recognized the importance of addressing accessibility barriers and sought to introduce American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation during the livestream of the event finals. This groundbreaking move aimed to enhance inclusivity and set a new standard for esports events.

Securing ASL Interpreter and Implementation

Through diligent searching, GAAM Gladiators found Katie McDaniels, a dedicated sign language interpreter willing to contribute her time to the event. The team successfully incorporated ASL signing into the livestream, marking the first instance of ASL inclusion during an esports event finals. This pioneering effort aimed to inspire other esports events to follow suit and prioritize accessibility.

Conceptualizing a Specialized Product

Recognizing the need for a dedicated esports event, GAAM Gladiators was conceived as a spin-off from the larger GAAM Show. The objective was to create the largest esports event ever witnessed in Jacksonville, specifically catering to the competitive gaming community.

User-Centric Design and Streamlined Processes

From a product standpoint, GAAM Gladiators introduced innovative processes and user flows that deviated from traditional esports event management. Careful consideration was given to the diverse user personas, including competitors, casual gamers, spectators, and online viewers. The aim was to ensure efficient and joyful user journeys, identifying and eliminating any constraints that hindered the desired user experience.

Expansion into New Products

To address areas beyond the scope of GAAM Gladiators, the team identified opportunities to develop additional products. This approach facilitated the creation of innovative solutions that extended accessibility and inclusivity in various aspects of esports.

Design Elements and Visual Identity

GAAM Gladiators established a visual identity centered around a sword and gladiator motif. This distinctive element, coupled with the traditional blue and white GAAM colors, became the hallmark of the event. The sword was incorporated into the logo, merchandise, trophies, and the venue itself, evoking a sense of excitement and competition.

Visual Aesthetics

Roman Columns and Statues The design concept extended to incorporating Roman columns and statues throughout the event venue, further enhancing the thematic experience and immersing participants in the gladiator ambiance.

Transitioning to an Online Gaming League during COVID-19

Adapting to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, GAAM Gladiators formed a partnership with the University of North Florida (UNF) and provided an outlet for students who couldn’t participate in person due to medical risks. This collaborative effort aimed to maintain engagement and inclusivity during a challenging period.

Mathematical Resource Estimation

GAAM Gladiators developed a mathematical system to estimate staffing and equipment needs for conducting online tournaments within designated timeframes. This approach facilitated the smooth transition to online events and ensured efficient resource allocation.


GAAM Gladiators exemplifies a successful endeavor in advancing accessibility and inclusivity within the esports industry. Through pioneering efforts such as ASL interpretation, the creation of a dedicated esports event, and innovative design elements, GAAM Gladiators set a new standard for accessibility in the esports community. Additionally, the successful transition into an online gaming league during the pandemic demonstrated adaptability and commitment to inclusivity. The achievements of GAAM Gladiators serve as a testament to the transformative power of prioritizing accessibility within the esports landscape.

This was the initial promo video introducing the concept to our audience

Below you can see how the initial logo and the sword concept became married throughout the event, especially in the viral winners announcements.

And finally, the culmination of the hard work put in by everybody.

Thank you to Jeffrey Enriquez for putting together such a great video capturing what the event was about.