While the eSports business has recently grown in popularity throughout the world, the concept is not new. Since the 1970s, when the first tournaments were held on black and white computers, competitive gaming has grown in popularity. Fast forward 30 years and the growth of online gaming turbocharged the eSports sector, with competitions becoming worldwide events in the early 2000s, thanks to the introduction of more powerful games consoles and high-speed internet.
Professional leagues and contests with multi-million dollar rewards are now available. The word eSports refers to a wide range of games played on a variety of platforms. The virtualization of sports like football and golf is simply one aspect of the industry. For many customers, this wide appeal has eliminated the barrier to entry, allowing eSports teams, federations, and game developers to establish global communities. The sector is now developing at a rapid rate, with huge technological companies such as Facebook and Amazon joining the market to provide innovation and large-scale investment.
Consumption has increased
Grabyo’s At Home Video Trends Report revealed that digital video usage has grown fast since March 2020, with customers spending more time at home on subscription services. However, fans could get their competitive fix through eSports while televised concerts were stopped. To replace live sports and events, sports federations, game developers, and broadcasters began staging worldwide tournaments including both pros and celebrities. These were broadcast live on a variety of social media sites, including YouTube and Twitch. Some of them were also shown on cable television networks at the same time, bringing esports to the forefront of conventional video channels.
These special-event eSports competitions allowed fans to interact with their favorite celebrities, professional sports players, and eSports heroes while also boosting the industry’s reputation. Matches were live-streamed from home in a format never seen before, giving spectators a more intimate, unique experience, as well as the possibility to execute eSports betting online way more efficiently and conveniently. By integrating professional footballers in the FIFA20 Stay and Play Cup, EA and the English Premier League developed a virtual alternative for football enthusiasts. Matches were streamed live with presenters and analysts, simulating the experience of viewing a normal Premier League match. The formats were straightforward and tough, resulting in over a million hours of viewing time on Twitch.
Technology and Trends
Providing much-needed in-home entertainment to people all over the world was a significant move for eSports, but it ultimately accelerated an already fast-growing business. According to Marketing Hub, worldwide awareness of eSports more than quadrupled between 2015 and 2019 and is on course to reach almost 2 billion people by the end of 2020. Greater consumer awareness leads to increased spending, investment, and sponsorship. Year after year, games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, and DOTA 2 smash records and are hard to miss on social media during their annual launch week.
For gamers and tech aficionados, console updates are also important events on the calendar. Xbox and Playstation have dominated their respective yearly launch dates with large-scale and high-budget product upgrades, as well as creative marketing efforts tied to eSports events. The virtual environment also paved the way for indoor sports where golf simulators, ball flight simulators, and other VR gadgets reign. Equipment sponsorships in other product categories such as screens, seats, and headsets, to mention a few, will also be watched by gamers. When you combine this degree of exposure with the huge sums of money at risk, the sector will only continue to develop.
Revenue growth YoY
Sponsorships and advertising account for the majority of eSports earnings. As the sector grows in popularity, some of the biggest advertisers, such as Coca-Cola and Audi, have decided to invest. Gamers are generally males between the ages of 16 and 35, and they constitute a significant market for businesses. The ROI for companies is significant, especially when compared to a social campaign because this audience is both highly engaged and accounts for a vast percentage of the industry’s viewership.
Sponsorship and advertising may be done in a variety of ways, including pre-roll on a live stream, branded highlights on social media, a relationship with the game, or even on the console itself. In-game marketing is also included. You might, for example, brand the advertising boards that surround the pitch, statistics, or player of the match honors at a football game. The games may reinvest in the product by selling these rights, resulting in a better user experience. As a result, the viewing experience improves, encouraging more viewers to watch and participate.
Esports is becoming more professionalized
eSports has grown from a few hundred people competing on monochrome computers at Stanford University to professional tournaments, teams, and players. Competing across the world and garnering tens of thousands of spectators in live venues as well as enormous online audiences on Twitch and Youtube. With more sponsorship and collaborations available throughout the ecosystems, it has become a profitable business.
The specialization of eSports has prompted the football business to react quickly, with clubs and national teams forming their own eSports teams to play against one another. Playing in conjunction with big international football events in order to enhance visibility and attract new followers to the business. Manchester United and French international Paul Pogba, who has joined the Verdansky FC eSports club to play Call of Duty, is one of the most notable recruits. Signing a high-profile athlete has helped eSports reach a new audience by capitalizing on the popularity of current stars.
The potential for eSports is limitless, thanks to continuous innovation and expansion. Without a question, local lockdowns throughout the world raised the exposure of esports, but year on year growth was already occurring. Adapting swiftly and maintaining development in the face of adversity, whether people are at home or not, has been critical in recent months. There will inevitably be saturation at some point, but there are no indications that this will happen very soon.