The rise of eSports
We all know sport is big business, but what about eSport? In this post Alberto Minelli, User Experience Designer at Tribal Worldwide London’s Customer Experience Practice, tells us why brands should pay attention to this unlikely industry.
There exists a market worth 900 million dollars and is set to grow by 1.7 billion dollars by 2021. Can you guess what this golden goose is? A hint; sports. But not in the conventional sense.
I’m talking about eSports — if you don’t know what that is (shame on you), Newzoo define it as:
“competitive gaming at a professional level and in an organised format (a tournament or league) with a specific goal (i.e. winning a champion title or prize money) and a clear distinction between players and teams that are competing against each other.”
ESPORT MARKET AT A GLANCE:
Revenue: $900 million worldwide (2018)
Audience: 385.5 million worldwide (2017)
No. of events: 424 worldwide (2016)
Total ticket revenue: $32 million (2016), up 52% from previous year
Total prize money: $93 million (2016), also up 52% from previous year
Popular locations: North America (28%), Western Europe (26%), Eastern Europe (13%)
Audience breakdown: 71% male; 79% under 35 years old; 44% “high household income”
Whether you’re an entertainment company or a possible sponsor, eSports 37.4% year on year growth should be making you sit up and take notice.
In the last few years multiplayer games such as League of Legends, Overwatch and Fortnite have attracted a huge amount of interest. And that’s only the most visible part of a wider ocean of streamed content. Many of the most viewed youtube videos are related to gaming, and the most famous youtuber is a videogamer (pewdiepie is worth 20 million dollars).
Entertainment is changing and, thanks to better broadband, the gaming experience is set to get better and better, hence a growth in game-play streaming.
Platforms like Youtube and Twitch might own the market now, but I see a big opportunity opportunity for the likes of Netflix and Amazon to get involved. And it’s not just about streaming — 67% of the total revenue for this business is shaped by sponsorships, advertising, tickets and merchandise.
And yet, I think the biggest opportunity is in space and facilities. There have been a few attempts to bring players together in one common place, and each has been labeled a huge success. Although not the obvious business opportunity, were it to be properly exploited, the potential here is huge — think an eSports stadium the size of Wembley.
Naturally, the way in which technology is integrated, both from a fan perspective and a competitor perspective, is an extremely important part of the equation. Football stadiums could be the spaces for tech brands to show-off their capabilities and concepts for future smart cities.
I think the eSports industry is a wonderful opportunity for brands to experiment in different fields and connect services and technologies in different and innovative ways. I wonder what incredible things could be done to amaze those people while they are comfortably watching their favourite players in action. After all, it’s all about the entertainment.
Lastly, for those thirsty for more, I did some digging and found a few bonus tracks that might inspire your business and possible initiatives with esports:
Red bull built an underground esport bar in London:
Mercedes Benz made a campaign specifically targeting professional (and wannabe professional) gamers and their lifestyle: