Why should marketers take notice of eSports?


eSports have grown exponentially in the past few years, with rising prize pools, and an expanding global audience. But why should marketers be taking notice? Read more to find out.

For the uninitiated, “eSports” is the term used to describe the playing of video games professionally. Although competitive gaming has been around since the 1980s, it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that we started seeing major eSports events such as the World Cyber Games Challenge and EVO. As such events developed and the games industry grew, more gamers were able to go professional. Today, there are hundreds of eSports tournaments in Asia, Europe and America, with some prize pools topping $1m. As the industry grows, so too do the media and merchandising opportunities.

The growth of eSports has caught the attention of conventional sports broadcasters such as ESPN, who are building a dedicated team specifically to cover esports. Currently, the most popular platform for watching eSports is Twitch, a dedicated online video platform, bought by Amazon in 2014 for £585m, which has 100m unique viewers. Last year, over 180 million people watched others playing video games on TV and online.

These statistics might be impressive, but why should marketers care? The answer is that eSports provides a perfect avenue for marketers to reach male millennials, a group which have become more difficult to engage through traditional channels.75% of Twitch users are male, and 73% of them are between 18 and 49 years old. The statistic that should grab the attention of marketers is that Twitch’s audience watches an average of 106 minutes per person per day.

One brand that has embraced the potential of eSports is Red Bull. The energy drink has a section on their website dedicated to eSports, featuring high quality content such as in-depth articles, interviews with world-class players as well as tips for aspiring gamers. In addition to this, Red Bull has been one of eSports’ leading investors, sponsoring numerous events and tournaments, allowing the community to grow and building a strong association with the industry and gaining valuable exposure to their most lucrative target group.

Whether or not you agree that eSports is actually a sport, it’s hard to deny that it has the potential to stand toe-to-toe with the biggest live events in entertainment - SuperData Research has predicted that the global eSports market, currently valued at $748m, will reach $1.9bn by the end of 2018. If your target audience is millennial males, and have the drive and passion to invest and become part of a rapidly growing community, eSports marketing could be a viable option for your brand.

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