the marketing strategies that took games to the world level – WAU
Part of the job of the marketer is knowing how to take advantage of the opportunities that arise in the market, and eSports are undoubtedly the main one. With a growth trend for the coming years, companies increasingly need to take advantage of this fever and bet on this universe.
Think of a market valued at just over a billion dollars and with a projected growth of around 60% by 2022.
Add to that: professional athletes, millionaire awards, championships throughout the year and crowded stadiums. No, we are not talking about football, basketball or volleyball, but eSports.
Electronic sports are increasingly popular around the world and, consequently, move even larger numbers.
For companies that are attentive to market behavior and trends, and want to strengthen their brand authority, eSports can be an excellent way to apply different marketing strategies.
You may even ask yourself what is the point of sponsoring or promoting your brand in video games and computer games, however, we will show in this article the increasingly attractive numbers of eSports and, of course, how to take advantage of marketing possibilities within this universe. Read on to find out more!
What are eSports?
Before we talk about how brands can take advantage of marketing opportunities within eSports, it is important to understand, in fact, how it works and what this market has to offer, right?
Video games have been part of the daily lives of young people and children since the 1970s, but now they are increasingly professionalized.
In practice, therefore, eSports – electronic sports, or electronic sports – is a form of competition like any other sport.
Meantime, courts, fields, balls and goalposts give way to video games. On this platform, players face off to see who is the best in a virtual game of football, battle or shooting.
It is a practice that had one of its first records in 1972, when students from Stanford University, in the United States, got together to compete in a rudimentary Spacewar tournament. The prize for the winner? A free one-year subscription to Rolling Stone magazine.
In 1980, the first major competition was organized: the National Space Invaders Championship. Organized by Atari itself – the game’s producer -, the event brought together more than 10,000 participants from different parts of the United States. As the games became more advanced, the number of participants grew.
In the 1990s, Nintendo, a Japanese video game company, began to popularize these competitions by taking tours of various cities in the United States to bring together several players within a competition. At that time, direct confrontation among competitors also began to become popular.
After all, with the most basic games, the winners of the tournaments were defined, for example, by the scores that each registered on their own machine. With games like Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom offering the possibility of a dispute between two players on the same screen, competitions have become even more attractive.
The great growth of eSports, however, came with the popularization of the internet, allowing the connection – and the competition – between players from different parts of the world.
Counter Strike is an example of this: users face off in clashes between terrorists and counterterrorists, each with their own goals.
Today, however, things have changed and this universe has become increasingly popular, establishing itself as an excellent market to be explored by companies. The digital transformation has definitely converted eSports into a big business, bringing together stakeholders from all over the world.
What are the main modalities of eSports?
To better understand what eSports are, it is important to understand what are the main modalities and, consequently, the types of games.
Therefore, we have separated four very popular modalities and their respective games that are most successful among viewers. Check out!
FPS (First Person Shooter, which, in a free translation, would be First Person Shooter) is a type of game that is among the most common in the sport.
The player’s only visual reference is his weapon and, in addition to his success, the games in this modality pay very well: CS: GO is the second in the ranking of biggest prizes distributed in eSports.
Source: Steam release
MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) are also a hit in the gaming universe. When mixing strategy with RPG, the player controls a character and, with his team, needs to end the rival base.
The main examples are: DotA 2 and League of Legends (LoL), respectively, the first and third place in the ranking of awards.
Source: LoL disclosure
Physical sports such as football (FIFA), basketball (NBA 2K) and American football (Madden NFL) are also part of the world of eSports.
The simulators of these sports are very popular and even have their own leagues and professional circuits, however, they do not have the same relevance – in audience and awards – in relation to other modalities.
Source: EASports disclosure
Commanded by Fortnite, Battle Royale is one of the most recent forms of eSports and is already very successful. The objective of this game is to survive, explore and use the resources available within the map.
The winner – who can be a group or just a player – is the one who survives to the end.
Source: Epic Games
How big are eSports in the world?
According to data from the Newzoo agency, the financial movement involving eSports in the world will surpass its first billion dollars in 2019. It is estimated that 82% of this amount refers to the media rights sold for the broadcast of the events, as well as advertisements and sponsorships.
These values confirm the trend that companies need to start looking at eSports as an excellent platform to publicize their brands.
Little more than 10% of the billion dollars in this market comes from the sale of tickets and products related to games, athletes and sports teams.
With the internet being part of anyone’s daily life, eSports have established themselves as a worldwide fever.
The championships are not restricted to the place where they are being held, since the communication companies, through accreditation, can cover the events, as well as in physical sports.
After all, the interest and participation of users only increases. The same Newzoo study indicates that eSports, in 2019, will attract a global audience of around 453 million viewers, an increase of 15% over last year. This audience is divided into two: enthusiasts (44.3%) and occasional spectators (55.7%).
Of the eSports enthusiasts, about 57% of them are in Asia Pacific and, despite representing only 12% of the closest fans of the sports, North America is still the region that moves the most resources when it comes to eSports. In 2019, revenue involving the market on the continent will exceed $ 400 million.
What is the relevance of eSports in London?
Despite the large concentration of the audience in the two regions we mentioned, London is not far behind in the interest in eSports.
When we separate by country, London enthusiasts are in third place in the world ranking, behind only China and the United States, with 7.6 million people watching professional championships more than once a month.
Source: Blast disclosure
To give you an idea, 5.3% of Brazilians online are enthusiasts of eSports. A good number, but it also highlights the various possibilities for growth and expansion of this market in the country.
Newzoo’s projections indicate that, in 2021, about 30 million people in London are eSports consumers in some way.
Thus, it is a heated market in the country and it will gradually attract more eyes from companies and major players in London.
Former soccer player Ronaldo, for example, became an investor in CNB eSports Clube, a team focused on FIFA, League of Legends (LoL) and Arena of Valor.
In addition, some football clubs noticed this change in the local public and started to invest in eSports teams.
Flamengo and Santos, for example, have several athletes under contract, who wear club uniforms – with exclusive sponsorship for eSports -, receive salaries and have their obligations and responsibilities.
This popularity is reflected in the players’ success with the audience. Two of the leading eSports athletes in London, Gabriel Toledo, FalleN, and Felipe Gonçalves, BrTT, together have almost two million followers on their Twitter accounts. The size of the modalities’ popularity also appears in increasingly crowded events.
Video games are, therefore, an increasing reality in the London market and, as the numbers show, the possibilities for growth are enormous.
What are the main championships in this market?
Just as physical sports are divided into different modalities, categories and championships, when we talk about eSports it is not so different.
After all, there are several types of games that are successful among users and, consequently, turn into such watched and prestigious championships around the world.
For a long time, they were restricted to smaller and local competitions, involving only residents of a particular region participating. Today, however, many championships have become major events, gathering millions of fans in one city and attracting enthusiasts from other locations.
And that’s not all: with the digital transformation, the doors have opened – or rather, opened wide – for the millions of players, fans and spectators of virtual games to follow tournaments anywhere in the world.
That is, in addition to crowded gyms and arenas, the audience in the different communication channels is also huge.
Are professional players also athletes?
For those who do not understand much about the world of eSports, a very common question is whether professional players are, in fact, athletes.
Much because of the mistaken image that those who like games represents the stereotype of a nerd, the idea was created that players are not athletes.
Before the professionalization of eSports, this might have been true. Today, however, the reality is completely different. Players of various modalities are, more and more, equated with an athlete of football, basketball or any other sport in the physical world.
Athletes on eSports teams have coaches, salaries and even a “training center”.
The Flamengo team, for example, needs to attend training sessions in a room reserved exclusively for that, with schedules to be met and resources available for training, in addition to tactical and opponent study.
After all, in addition to a more professional structure, the awards and sponsorships allow athletes to have a routine exclusively dedicated to eSports. The German Kuro Takhasomi, known as KuroKy, is the highest paid athlete in history and, until today, accumulated just over 4 million dollars in awards playing DotA 2.
In addition, the popularity of athletes is such that, in addition to sponsorships for teams, companies have begun to realize the value of investing in the image of each athlete. This trend shows how eSports offer a world of opportunities for actions and marketing campaigns for companies in the most varied sectors.
How to take advantage of eSports marketing opportunities?
With all that was presented in this article, it is evident the diverse marketing opportunities present in the world of eSports.
After all, the market has the massive support of companies – whether as advertisers or sponsors -, communication channels interested in covering events and, more importantly, an increasing public participation.
How, then, to ignore this scenario so favorable for companies’ investment? Some have even started to move.
Clear, for example, in addition to having one of the main stars of world football, Cristiano Ronaldo, in the advertisements of its products, also invested in the London FalleN, a CS: GO player.
Chinese Jian “Uzi” Zihao, for example, starred in a Nike campaign alongside one of the biggest names in basketball, the American LeBron James. All of this shows how companies increasingly need to look at the different modalities of eSports and invest their marketing resources.
In addition to a huge audience, eSports fans consume related products and services. In North America alone, for example, the 24 million enthusiasts will generate, on average, $ 17 each.
One of the conclusions of another Newzoo study is that, in 2022, with a more mature market, the revenue per fan worldwide, which today is around US $ 5.50, should reach US $ 6.60 .
Another interesting fact is related to the use of social networks. The Newzoo study in London shows that, of the eSports enthusiasts in the country, 72% of them are regularly present on Instagram.
Investing in some modality can mean, for example, a greater relevance of your brand with Digital Marketing strategies.
Source: reproduction Newzoo
Some brands are already participating not only with sponsorships for athletes, but also for championships and tournaments.
The table in the Newzoo report, for example, shows which brands are already operating in eSports and which segments can take advantage of the void in the market.
The eSports market is therefore increasingly conducive to investment and the participation of companies and businesses.
The numbers prove the potential that these modalities offer to sponsors and advertisers, especially in London, with a more loyal and engaged audience within the world of games.
Now that you know how eSports are growing, and that there are several marketing opportunities available in the industry, how about checking out an example of a game that completely changed the market? Read our article and learn how Fortnite got out of the gaming sphere and turned into a marketing success!