Don’t Sleep on eSports
eSports, match based competitive video gaming that participants enjoy via streaming or in person, are growing in popularity and here to stay. To be more precise, eSports have been a growing international phenomenon for years, with the biggest hotbeds being in China and Korea. Some eSports leagues have even become so popular that there have been tournaments with prize money totaling in the millions. Even so, eSports have struggled to break into the market. Many brands just aren’t quite sure how to make sense of the genre, nor how to effectively embed themselves within the eSports culture. One particular challenge brands face is building a connection with an eSports audience that can be difficult to define and is more nuanced than being classified as just a cohort of core gamers.
As fans pack in for events and streaming, eSports continues gaining momentum in the US. Last year Blizzard’s wildly popular franchise “Overwatch” held its inaugural season, culminating in a sold out final at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, which prompted a multiyear broadcast deal with Disney. Similarly, Turner Sports has also invested in eSports with their own broadcasted ELeague. With growth comes plenty of opportunities for innovation, including branded content, tournaments, partnerships and advertising. In fact, Fortnite’s E3 Pro-Am tournament offered a glimpse into an alternative approach to an eSport event. So, keep your eye on eSports, as it’s projected to explode as more brands attempt to get involved.