In just a few short years, esports has grown from a niche opportunity to a global phenomenon. Think professional gaming attracts a smaller audience than your favorite football rivalry? Think again. Audiences have skyrocketed as fans flock to watch teams play League of Legends and other favorites live. And the crowds are living online. For many brands, esports may feel like uncharted territory, but savvy marketers are taking advantage of the chance to reach such an engaged audience at scale.
What is eSports?
ESports, which stands for electronic sports, is basically professional video gaming. It generally takes the form of multiple-player video game competitions where players can come together to play for glory and money, usually large sums of it. In popular tournaments, you will see thousands converging on site. Such events are often streamed online where some of them draw millions of viewers.
Why eSports is a Big Marketing Opportunity for Brands
Below are the reasons why eSports comes out as an important marketing opportunity for your brand.
- Global Reach and Rapid Growth. You cannot underestimate eSports’ worldly draw. For instance, in Asia where it brings in huge revenues of about $374 million, sponsorship commands a great media value. This is especially in China, which is an emerging market. It is also quite attractive to the youth demographic. If you want to know eSports growth potential, just look at South Korea’s highly developed infrastructure. ESports is very popular there and is often referred to as the national pastime.
- Powerful Stories. Among the lasting memories left by the Dota2 International are the stories and narratives created around the event. Before it was picked up by Valve, Dota was a game the eSports community created and sustained. Many of the players who competed at the global level helped in defining what it is today. Similarly, many players have made big sacrifices to reach this competition level.
- Thriving Community. The eSports community is one of its strongest assets, and nurturing it can be very rewarding for any brand. You can put the community at the centre of your strategy. For example, Twitch, the global streaming provider tried it and achieved great success within a short period of time. You can only build communities on shared values. The strongest value in the eSports community is the culture of learning.
- Access to Developing Markets. Although eSports is already popular, it is still a very young market. Brands that adopted it early are building a huge valuable brand equity with their devoted fan bases.
Competitive gaming is a place you should focus your marketing, as backed by data on consumer behaviour. It is true that competitive gaming has majorly been a marketing strategy as opposed to being a big revenue driver. However, it is the experience that always ends up as the key driver for products and brands. If your brand or product is considering entering this segment, it is important that you arrive early and help set this expectation. In the course of our work with companies, we have seen many benefits of using unique forms of advertising and engagement to help in reducing costs incurred while trying to acquire customers and driving up game and brand affinity. With a good marketing mix, it is possible for eSports marketing to drive solid revenue for your organization.
However, it is more about consumer-brand relationship building as well as generating engagement by adding to the community as opposed to direct revenue generation. It does this quite well for early movers, especially those that have invested into the space. The key here is to keep your efforts and message authentic. This will help establish your brand as a valuable member of the community. If you endeavour to do that, you will benefit from engagement, brand loyalty, and brand awareness.