In a world where every view counts, brands need to stay ahead of the curve by allocating a portion of their marketing spend to test new platforms and media channels. Especially those that are quickly capturing and retaining consumer attention. Non-endemic brands should view esports as an exciting new frontier full of boundless opportunities but first test, learn, then scale. The goal for any brand should be to be relevant and stay relevant in the esports space.

The biggest opportunity is the fact that esports appeals to a wide audience that does not typically tune in to traditional sports events.
Esports enables brands to build a relationship with a new audience through interactive livestreaming platforms such as Twitch, YouTube Gaming, Mixer, and Caffeine.
In addition to livestreaming, brands also have the opportunity to develop close ties with audiences on-site during esports events and tournaments.

Today’s Esports Demographic

Watching other people play video games was once considered a niche but now has grown considerably in recent years. Instead of tuning into linear TV Millennials and Gen Z are shifting their attention to competitive gaming livestreams and pre-recorded videos. According to eMarketer’s 2019 Esports Forecast,

US esports viewers will reach 30.3 million this year and 46.2 million by 2023.

Today, esports in the US is predominantly male with data suggesting that men make up 69% of the viewing audience and millennial with 51% being between the ages of 18-34 according to eMarkter.

Most Popular Esports Games & Tournaments
Last year, the five most popular esports games had been watched for a combined time of almost 3.68 billion hours or roughly 153,333,333 days.

  • The five most popular esports games were Fortnite, League of Legends, Dota 2, PUBG, CS:GO.
  • Fortnite alone amassed 1.36 billion hours of views across platforms.
  • League of Legends, Fortnite's closest competitor, had amassed roughly 986.87 million hours worth of views.

Despite coming in second to Fortnite, League of Legends had 5 of the top 10 most popular tournaments, in terms of peak viewership, while Fortnite had none. Although, I am not a fan of Peak Viewership or Max Concurrent Viewers as metrics, this is what we have to lean on until the esports industry fully embraces Average Minute Audience.

Brands Activating In The Space

The growing popularity of Esports has captured the attention of several brand such as Coke, Totino's Pizza, Champion, and Jersey Mike's.

Coke has gone a step further than most by signing a multi-year sponsorship deal with Overwatch making Coke the official beverage partner of Overwatch. Although the exact details of the deal are not clear, the partnership offers Coca-Cola exclusive rights to events at various levels including the collegiate level and the amateur level.

However, Champion has continued to expand its presence with a multi-year partnership to become the official outfitter of the NBA 2K League. Champion will outfit all 21 teams with uniforms and apparel.

In 2018, Jersey Mike's partnered with League of Legends to sponsor the 2018 Summer Split which is the second half of league match play. Jersey Mike's partnership allowed the company's customers and fans of the game to redeem codes for prizes and items in the games.

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