Zealand Shannon, who is currently attending the Syracuse Masters digital media and sports broadcasting program, was born and raised in Tampa, FL and is a successful sports broadcaster (Tampa Yankees minor league 15-18yrs old, UVA/ACC network various sports 18-24 yrs old), Youtuber (64K followers last 6 months) and Twitch partner streamer (27.7K followers last 6 months) and Twitter (10.3K followers last 6 months). He plays a “thinking man’s game” called FM (football, as in soccer, Manager) that has been around since 1992 and popular elsewhere besides America.
He has been interviewed several times in the UK, and has always been the first American ever interviewed regarding this game. Since TimTheTatman no longer resides in Syracuse, Zealand is now the biggest streamer in Syracuse. He averages 400-600 viewers each time he streams, and the average numbers are on a steady growth monthly. He managed to find a “nitch” in this game that nobody else had found which explains his success. He also is very knowledgeable about expanding into other areas. He is self-taught on everything from broadcasting to streaming, how to grow your numbers, how to create a brand, etc. He has been offered sponsorships but has not yet accepted any because he wants to make sure it’s the right fit.
We had a chance to sit down with him and ask him about his streaming experience.
Q: How’d you get into streaming? What was the original goal?
A: I had free time during my last semester of college, I only had one class. I had recently built my first computer at the time and a friend showed me how to set up OBS. I kind of just… started. I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing, but I hit the live button and fell in love with the concept.
Q: What’s been your best moment as a streamer?
A: So in the main game I started playing, Football Manager, it’s like in-depth FIFA. It is a very popular game in Europe, fortunately for me. But, you do ‘saves’ where you take over one team and try to win with them and everything. I won the Champions League with a team from Belarus in nine years, and the actual championship game had 1400 people watching. When I started the save, I averaged about 14 people. The symmetry was hilarious and awesome to me.
Q: What games really speak to you?
A: What games? I don’t think streaming is about the games, I think it’s about people wanting to go through experiences with you. Games that allow you to narrate your experience are the ones that I choose to stream, so like Modern Warfare lobbies aren’t good, because you’re constantly fighting for your life and can’t interact with chat.
Q: How do you like connecting with your audience? What tool do you use most (chat, Twitter, Discord, etc.)?
A: I think every social media has its place to reach people. Twitch is the best way to connect personally with people because it’s all live, but answering your DMs on Twitter, Instagram, and Discord creates that personal feel, too.
Q: If your fans were only going to take one message away from watching you, what would you want that to be?
A: Don’t take anything too seriously.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring streamers?
A: Don’t just stream. Streaming is the reward, basically, it’s not how you grow your following. Twitch has absolutely no discoverability, everything else has more. I feel like the people that realize this and actually work at something else are the ones that succeed.
Q: What’s been one of the biggest surprises that you never thought of going into streaming?
A: How hot your room gets when you stream for a long time, it’s a world-class sport.
You can find Zealand Shannon on the following platforms: