While many traditional sports scrambled to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, esports stood firm to cement its position as a major trend redefining the future of the sports marketing industry.
For rights holders and brands seeking revenue growth and closer relationships with fans amid the economic disruption of the pandemic, esports offers a welcome antidote. The time to act is now, before the market matures further.
The evolution of the esports market was well underway before the COVID-19 virus spread across the world, but the impact of social restrictions triggered an acceleration in esports by attracting more fans, competitors, professional athletes and traditional sports to the digital arena.
Interest from mainstream broadcasters and non-endemic brands has soared. YouTube clocked 100 billion hours in game viewing time in 2020, while Juniper Research suggests the global audience for esports and gaming will surpass one billion by 2025.
Newzoo predicts that global esports revenue will reach nearly USD 1.6 billion in 2023, rising at a compound annual growth rate of 15.5% from 2018 levels. Growth can be expected across all areas from sponsorship and media rights to merchandise and physical events, once conditions allow.
Esports for all
For those rights holders and brands that have yet to embrace esports, there are significant opportunities to unlock new value from this rapidly-growing segment.
Beyond that, esports offer huge potential for both rights holders and brands as high-growth revenue streams and opportunities for next level engagement with fans. There are also ways to get ahead of the curve and unlock value by partnering with upcoming esports properties such as Riot Games’ Valorant, which, according to TwitchTracker, was the second most watched game in Twitch history on launch. For German, Austrian and Swiss gamers, Freaks4U Gaming, the leading agency in Gaming & Esports, have developed Agent’s Range as the go to address to play Valorant.
Crucially, esports offers deeper levels of engagement with its young fanbase as well as multiple sponsorship assets. This is driven and enabled by the huge popularity of live streaming and non-gaming content, rich data analytics, an immersive and interactive ecosystem, and virtual innovations including in-game advertising from companies such as Anzu.
With revenues hit hard by the pandemic and an uncertain outlook ahead, can rights holders and brands afford to wait before tapping into the sports industry’s fastest growing segment?
Catching the right wave in esports is not just a matter of grabbing a surfboard. Expert guidance is crucial in order to navigate the complex ecosystem of media rights, sponsorship and advertising values, events, content creation and fan engagement, or simply to find an appropriate partner.
This short video offers brands a taste of what an esports partnership has to offer.
From choosing that partner and working out what esports can do to building a credible strategy, Infront, with its world-leading expertise in the field, stands ready to help rights holders and brands make the most of the esports revolution.
To find out more about the trends shaping the sports marketing industry in 2021, download our white paper here.