The Chargers star discusses his Ekeler Dome Twitch show and how he tries to live a purposeful, driven life, both on and off the field.
On a Tuesday off day, Los Angeles Chargers superstar Austin Ekeler sits in an all-purpose room befitting of an all-purpose running back.
Sitting in a special chair for gaming and streaming, the 27-year-old is getting ready to film the final episode of the first season of the Ekeler Dome, an interactive competition series he livestreams on Twitch where he engages in random tasks against fans and famous guests. The room also serves as a home office and fulfillment center for Ekeler’s Eksperience app and his eponymous foundation.
Between streaming, his foundation work, entrepreneurial endeavors like real estate in Colorado, his girlfriend, and his football career, Ekeler has little time for fleeting, trivial, ephemeral short-term pleasures. On the field, his 85 receptions are fourth in the NFL for any player and tops among running backs going into Sunday’s games, headlined by Ekeler’s Chargers hosting the Miami Dolphins in primetime. His 12 total touchdowns — seven rushing and five receiving — are tied for second in the league.
“I’m really in build mode right now, so I’ve been basically producing and not really consuming a lot lately,” Ekeler told Boardroom. “What it’s going to come back to is me trying to tap into value and also giving and receiving value from and to communities.”
For those unfamiliar with Ekeler Dome, produced by Blue Duck Media, fans who participate in the live Twitch chat can vote to be either with or against Ekeler as he tried to complete random challenges like Bop It!, Operation, “Fall Guys,” finding a geographic location with audience hints, trying to complete the first level of the original SuperMario game blindfolded with the help of fans, and how many shirts you can throw on your body in two minutes. Guests for the show’s Boss Battles have included teammate Mike Williams, Philadephia Eagles running back Boston Scott, and famous Twitch streamer GrandPooBear. The first eight-episode season concluded, and now Ekeler is looking for sponsors and people who can improve the show.
While the show only averaged 200 viewers per live session, those viewers stayed glued to the show for an average of 50 minutes, he said, an encouraging testament to the Ekeler Dome’s loyal fan base.
“As we continue to do it in the future, we’ll continue to build up and have more ridiculous challenges,” Ekeler said. “That’ll be a good time.”
Ekeler, on the third year of a four-year contract worth just over $25 million, spoke to Boardroom last year about the Gridiron Gaming Group, a collective of more than a dozen professional athletes, that included Williams and Scott, which helped players develop new revenue streams and build out their own gaming and streaming platforms. The issue Ekeler encountered with the GGG was that streaming and content creation is a full-time job.
“If you stop,” Ekeler said, “then basically your stream or your content page dies. That’s not sustainable for a lot of people.”
GGG shifted into the Eksperience app, allowing people to engage in their own specific ways on their own time, to turn on and off and customize how they want to present themselves and their brands to their community. For Ekeler himself, Twitch provides the real-time feedback and engagement he prefers.
Ekeler’s key to balancing his lives inside and outside football is understanding what fulfills him.
“I’m not just chasing happiness. Happiness is so temporary,” he said. “I want something that’s like, ‘man, this is a life worth living at the end of it.’ Where I find that is in growing things that can provide value either to my life or to other people’s lives at the same time. So I’m pushing as hard as I can to do as many things as I can that I feel like I want to do. I’m in a position where I’ve been able to build myself up to give myself opportunities like that, and I always want to have that selection in the future.”
That has meant trying to minimize a lot of what he calls those short-term pleasures like TV and video games. Ekeler said he’s found a way to make his long-term pleasures almost feel as good as the comfort of just hanging out and chilling. Most of his free time is spent working out, building out his app, and making sure his foundation is up to date.
While Ekeler wishes things would go the Chargers’ way more often on the field, he said he’ll always be ready for the grind of the NFL regardless of whether his team wins or loses.
“Guess what? I’m going to show up,” he said. “I’m going to put my best foot forward and try to be the best I can to make the biggest impact for not only me but for the organization and everyone that’s watching; the fantasy fans, all of them, everyone that is a fan of Austin.”
Whenever you see, hear, or read about Austin Ekeler, chances are he’ll be in build mode, trying to bring an all-purpose mindset and attitude no matter where he goes, what he pursues, or where life takes him.