Jason Sugarman Outlines Advertising Opportunities within the Esports Ecosystem
Sports, Branding & Online Reputations
The sports landscape of the world is evolving with the rise of esports changing the way we view games and interact with the players. Esports is now one of the fastest-growing sports groups in the world with the audience for games estimated to grow from around 380 million in 2018 to more than 550 million by 2021. Business leaders with companies of all sizes should be aware of the opportunities available to them when it comes to advertising opportunities and marketing plans based around the esports communities. The consistently growing audience and members of the online esports sector mean the return on investment for any sponsor or advertiser in the esports ecosystem is high and will only grow in the future.
One of the main reasons for the success of esports in the last few years is the growing cult of personality based around the different players now leading the rise of esports around the world. From “Fortnite” legend Ninja to players streaming themselves live on Twitch, the need to know exactly who you are playing against is the most important aspect of being involved in esports for many. For advertisers, a link to an experienced, well-known esports player is a simple way of moving into the esports sector and attracting many fans of the individual player. In Russia, the Head & Shoulders brand has recently linked up with a popular esports star to make him the first non-traditional sportsperson or celebrity to represent the brand.
Advertisers can link themselves to different players of games who they can sponsor in a similar way to the traditional sponsorship of celebrity players from around the world, helped by brand media and reputation companies in crafting the reputation and image they want. The difference between the traditional sportspeople of the past and the esports players of today is the fact there are two different options open to sponsors. A Streamer is an esports player who streams their gameplay live each day and has the ability to become an influencer partnering with various companies to broadcast information about various products to their followers on Twitch and other streaming services.
The other option for an esports player is to find sponsors in the corporate sector who assist with helping the individual with their expenses as they join a team. Advertising opportunities are always available that will allow a player to move into a team that will usually join when they are around 16 or 17 and becomes a professional player. These individual team players are known around the world and can attract a large audience to the brand and products they are partnered with.
One of the difficult aspects of the esports ecosystem in the U.S. is the rise of the sector in the academic arena. The changes in the sector are based on the fact the rise of esports in colleges and universities are subject to NCAA rules and regulations that can cause issues for sponsors and brands providing funding for individual players. An easier way of funding an esports team is to look for a professional team to provide funding for that will allow the sponsor the chance to work directly with an individual player who will use their influence to drive fans to the sponsoring brand.
There are more ways to get involved in advertising with esports including through the sponsorship of a range of tournaments including the chance to gain a huge return on investment. The first step is to find a tournament that allows you the chance to provide sponsorship within your budget range, this should be easy as the range of esports competitions is growing around the world. Whether you choose to sponsor a tournament at the local level or at a more advanced level you can spend your time sponsoring an event broadcast live across the world you should see a boost in sales. In general, the sponsor of an event can look to see a return of around five percent among those attending the event purchasing products or services. If the initial investment is a major one, a business could see a return in the millions of dollars if the event is broadcast around the world. Streaming live means even more viewers are available to identify the sponsorship and increase the return on investment any business will experience.
Choosing to become the sponsor of an esports event is not something that should be done without an initial batch of research being completed. The initial research into the average viewer of an esports event streamed online shows the majority are male at more than 70 percent. The average household income of the average esports fan in the U.S. pushed north of $75,000 and is college-educated. These are all factors that need to be taken into account by any business looking to become a key sponsor of any portion of the esports sector.
The success of event sponsorship is one option within the esports ecosystem but for others, the price of these deals is far too high to pay. In the event that a business has been priced out of the sponsorship of an event, there is the chance to look at banner sponsorship within the streaming platforms that have become popular over the last few years. These streaming platforms can attract viewers for each streamer from the tens to the thousands and millions. When the “Fortnite” player, Ninja played alongside the rapper Drake, the event was streamed via various platforms and added to the popularity of both the player and musician.
There are many ways for you to raise your online profile alongside the need to develop advertising opportunities which can include the use of event partnerships that are basically enlarged forms of product placement. An event partnership is especially important for those who are involved directly in the production of products and services that can be used directly by gamers and streamers. If the event partnership proves to be a success further partnerships can be formed in a similar fashion with streamers. The fact the majority of teenage YouTube users state they identify more closely with video uploaders than with traditional celebrities explains why linking up with streamers is such an important aspect of modern advertising.
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