The Crazy World Of Esports Sponsorship
As someone heavily involved in the world of esports, I’ve witnessed all its intricacies including major sponsorship deals. It’s no secret that esports has been enjoying significant growth, which has spurred on brands to invest in it. Two key ways that brands drive their message across is through advertisements and sponsorships – and that’s likely to continue.
Currently, brands are tapping into the short-term growth that comes from sponsorships. But they’ll reap more long-term benefits once mobile streaming of esports events become mainstream. Considering that well-known brands such as Coca-Cola, Intel, and Red Bull are already sponsoring several of the most popular tournaments, the potential of this market segment is evident. I’ll reveal more about the crazy and wonderful world of esports sponsorship below.
Esports Aren’t Just Fun And Games.
To the average bystander, esports may seem like nothing more than a bunch of young players enjoying their favorite pastime – namely video games – in a competitive manner. While this is true, esports is much more than that it’s big business.
There are also many detractors that don’t feel that esports should qualify as traditional sports due to the lack of physical activity involved. However, this hasn’t deterred major brands from sponsoring esports teams and tournaments similarly to their traditional sports counterparts.
Big Brands Are Investing Heavily In Esports.
Several of the world’s most prestigious brands have entered the esports market that’s currently worth about $900 million. Coca-Cola sponsors the League of Legends World Championship, which is one of the biggest tournaments globally. Intel sponsors both the Electronic Sports League (ESL) and the Intel Extreme Masters tournaments. Red Bull originally sponsored Blizzard’s StarCraft 2 tournaments and now sponsors the Dota 2 tournaments.
These brands understand that the global esports market will reach approximately $1.49 billion by 2020. Moreover, they plan to reach the male demographic between the ages of 21 to 35 that’s difficult to tap into with traditional advertising methods.
Avoiding Hype And Measuring Real Audience Growth.
Now, this industry is certainly an exciting place for audiences, brands, and tournament players. The impressive figures discussed earlier give everyone the impression of a growing and healthy market segment. However, much of the data surrounding esports comes from the video games industry, and this poses a problem for sponsorship deals.
The games industry, which includes esports grew at a frantic rate. But they don’t possess standards common to the corporate world, and it’s often difficult to discern hype from reality. That’s why brand consultants are looking at better ways to measure the industry and offer sponsors realistic pricing structures.
The Necessity For Multi-Disciplinary Marketing Campaigns.
It seems that all it takes for brands to make a splash is with good sponsorship deals. To a certain extent, this is true. But attaining and retaining the attention of the predominantly millennial esports fan base usually requires some additional work. Millennials are quite particular about their tastes, thus carefully orchestrated marketing campaigns are essential when reaching out to them.
A multi-disciplinary approach whereby a brand’s story is imaginative and delivered across relevant social media channels and influencers is effective. Since I specialize in influencer marketing, I’ve found that brands reap exceptional results when aligning their message with the right influencers.
Esports Sponsorship Takes Many Forms.
Corporate brands aren’t the only entities interested in sponsorship deals within the esports arena. A higher education institution, namely the University of Utah has started its own esports initiative. It sponsors its student gamers to take part in the growing college gaming league. Moreover, it collaborates with Riot Games allowing its esports team to compete in the League of Legends College Championship. This shows us how sponsorship deals are diversifying relative to a maturing esports scene.
The esports industry is growing rapidly and the world’s biggest brands are getting involved. These brands are investing heavily by advertising and sponsoring teams and tournaments. But they need better metrics on audience growth and initiate multi-disciplinary marketing campaigns for greater reach. Furthermore, universities are showing interest in esports and sponsoring their own students to take part in college leagues. Contact me to find out how an esports sponsorship can benefit your brand.
President | Night Media
Image: Wikimedia Commons