Things every business leader should know about eSports

Well, there’s really only one thing you should know about eSports: It’s a big business and if you and your products have anything to do with the demographics that watch and play eSports, it’s a good idea to use this phenomenon as a platform to reach out to them.

Did you know that more people watched the League of Legends World Championships in 2016 than did the NBA finals, or that over twice as much was offered in prize money at the 2017 Dota 2 than at the 2017 Masters Tournament? There are lots of opportunities here, including sponsorships, advertising, and social media engagement. But how do you approach gamers? Here are three things to keep in mind when reaching out to eSports fans and players:

1. Drop the “Sir”

Gamers and eSports fans aren’t much for formalities — especially not around games. They don’t care for blatant ads (which they usually see interrupting their gaming experience) and they usually aren’t big fans of the business world, even if they are a part of it in their everyday lives.

The real key is treat gamers like human beings. Don’t try to hide the fact that you’re an advertiser trying to make money cause they’ll see right through you and probably treat you with disdain. Instead, find some creative way to be a part of their world and add true value to their gaming or viewing experience. This doesn’t have to be physical rewards or incentives — it could also be entertainment or clever social media posts that show you know their culture and lingo.

2. Nothing is “better” than gaming

Most gamers spent their teenage years being told that their hobby was a waste of time, that reading a book or spinning tires with a stick (or whatever young people used to do before games) would be more constructive. Most heard it from concerned parents and see it as condescending to say the least. In many ways, pro gaming is a reaction to this sentiment, proving that gaming is an activity of value, not just monetarily, but culturally as well.

And this understanding is catching on. Lots of people still refuse to see eSports as a legitimate pastime, but its growing popularity is evidence to the contrary. universities are offering gaming scholarships and more and more pro players are earning a healthy paycheck under contract. One of the worst mistakes you can make is to treat the gaming community with indifference or scorn.

3. Why so serious?

This ties in somewhat with the last point, but gamers take themselves seriously — as seriously as any other athlete, and you should too. They train day and night and the stakes in competitions are make or break. The same way a track star trains his leg muscles for years and eats just right with steadfast dedication, gamers put in 14, 15 or 16 hour days or even longer in anticipation of the next competition.

Their fans also take them seriously. Many see pro gamers as regular, relatable people living out something of a fantasy life. It’s somewhat inspiring, and inspiration is no joke. The bottom line is to approach gamers with respect. Do that and you’ll win their hearts.

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