An interview with Champion: Successful gaming influencers

According to the most recent valuation, the UK gaming industry is worth around £7.16billion (2021) and, for the most popular gaming influencers on streaming platforms, such as Twitch, YouTube and Facebook, it can lead to a lucrative income.

For many of the top gamers – some of whom are earning six or seven-figure incomes – their success was unplanned. So, at what point does a hobby gamer tip over into a viable business? And what do gamers need to consider from a tax perspective?

We chatted to one of our clients, Kevin Hadfield, about his experience as the father of two of the most popular UK streamers.

What’s the background to your sons’ businesses?

My boys showed an interest in gaming from a young age so, in hindsight, they have been practising their craft for years. My eldest son @Haddzy is now 24-years-old, living in Malta and has risen to online fame as one of the biggest slot streamers in the EU. My younger son, known online as Junior (@Haddzyjr), is a professional Call of Duty: Warzone player.

How do their gaming businesses earn income?

It’s not a traditional business model. There are a number of different income streams. From competition prize monies to income from subscriptions and advertising revenue, as well as donations from followers. There’s also income from things like free player credits and Facebook Stars – a way in which gamers can monetise their live-streaming. Viewers can buy Stars and send them, as well as virtual gifts, to show support to their favourite streamers.

When did it go from a hobby to a business?

For my eldest, @Haddzy, the change came in 2020. When the lockdowns were imposed, he was in Australia and was under strict lockdown restrictions there and spent much more time gaming. He switched from playing Warzone and began to play online slot games, experiencing some wins and some losses. He caught the attention of the gaming community and now has a huge online community – more than 130,000 Facebook followers and, more recently, a growing Twitch following. As his popularity grew, so too did the opportunities to earn off the back of it. As I’m also self-employed, I already had the business set up in place, so the boys were prepared.

How did it benefit you, and your sons, working with Champion Accountants?

The main thing is that we have a really great team at Champion supporting us. Trust is so important, and the team have given us real faith that they have our best interests at heart. Their advice has been invaluable. They’ve ensured that my sons’ businesses are set up in the most efficient way possible. My eldest son has begun to make investments with his earnings and Champion have been a great sounding board.

The industry as a whole needs to catch up, for example, some banks don’t recognise gamers as a viable business on which to set-up a specific business bank account. However, the team at Champion understand gaming as a growing sector and have been great at advising us on my sons’ businesses, as well as my own. It’s a real family affair.

What advice would you give others starting out?

Do not delay in setting up as a business – the sooner the better. There are so many income streams and non-traditional ways of earning that you really need to begin recording it from the outset. I understand that many people evolve from playing as a hobby but the last thing you want is to get unstuck with the tax man! And get a good team around you. We’ve been thoroughly supported by Champion, and it makes all the difference.

To discuss our specialist services for gamers, influencers and social media professionals, contact Martin Frain on 0161 703 2500 or