Competitive video games continued their TV odyssey Friday June 3rd, 2016 with the second installment of Turner Sports’ ELeague Season #1. The Group B finals between, Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) and G2 eSports, was aired at 10pm EST on TBS, and featured the Swedish-based NiP routing G2 in convincing fashion. It also further showcased Turner’s approach to premium eSports programming.
While the challenges faced by live competitive video game TV broadcasts are well noted. The valuable opportunities, created by a unique marriage of eSports and linear TV, aren’t as widely emphasized. Specifically, the amplified value sponsors receive courtesy of a new wave of TV broadcasts.
Obviously, true measurement for sponsors is dependent on technology and methodologies to capture and quantify value. However, competitive video game matches broadcast on TV offer a unique angle for the brands, represented by logos, labeled equipment and other visually marked items, seeking to build affinity with audiences. Whereas traditional sports require full physical immersion by participants, eSports is characterized by a distinction between the field of play and its human competitors. TV eSports broadcasts are charged with merging the digital playing field and human contestants into a cohesive viewing experience. ELeague accomplishes this with strategic cut-away views of players and teams, which takes the form of eye-level and close up shots. Coupled with HD broadcast quality, these angles provide unique value for equipment and jersey sponsors of eSports events.
To demonstrate, clearly visible sponsor logo impressions from the G2 vs NiP were tracked. The top five totals, see below, only include live gameplay, and don’t count impressions during pre-produced segments and/or pre-and-post game coverage. The results reveal a small sample size of the range of sponsor exposure offered by an ELeague TV broadcast.
- Maxnomic – Chair provider for both teams
- Netgear – Jersey sponsor for NiP
- Plantronics – Headset provider for both teams
- Xtrfy – Jersey sponsor for NiP
- Zowie – Gaming monitor for both teams
More prominent than the raw number of impressions is how well HD broadcasts relayed logo visibility, as compared to online streams. Without the requirement of capturing an entire field, or court, for the duration of play, eSports broadcasts portray sponsor connection with its athletes in a more intimate fashion. This enables sponsors to better connect with the emotion and energy of competitive video game events without buying ad time. Television then provides a superior platform for relaying the live eSports experience – graphics, sounds, etc. – to remote audiences, casual and hardcore viewers, alike.
Although questions about ratings for live eSports broadcasts on TV remain, one thing is clear: fundamental differences between the eSports and sports product renders a variance between how sponsor presence is perceived. Turner has created an uncluttered commercial backdrop for ELeague TV audiences, where the priority is to represent the highest level of competitive video game play in a clean and entertaining fashion, with advertising interests taking a back seat. While Turner does provide on-screen space for its corporate partners – Arby’s, Credit Karma, Buffalo Wild Wings, Mobile Strike – nothing else about ELeague even hints at commercialism. This open air space drastically improves the communication effectiveness for sponsors who are involved.
— eSportsMarketingBlog (@eSportsMBlog) June 10, 2016
About ‘eSports IQ’
The ‘eSports IQ’ is compiled by Alex Fletcher, the founder and president of Entiva Group, LLC, and features insights on the latest emerging trends in eSports. By curating invaluable content from a wide range of information sources you get the leading edge in the business of eSports.
Past eSports IQs:
- Week 22: ‘The eSports content value chain’ and more insights
- Week 21: ‘Following the Money in eSports’ and more insights
- Week 20: ‘Poker, eSports and the crossover of gaming entertainment’ and more insights
- Week 19: ‘FC Schalke 04’s eSports play – Pros and Cons’ and more insights
- Week 18: The Business of eSports Match-Fixing
- Week 17: ‘Bud Light jumps on the eSports train’ and more insights
- Week 16: ‘Can sports and eSports play nice?’ and more insights
- Week 15: Economics for eSports player unions still missing
- Week 14: ‘The reality of eSports governance’ and more insights
- Week 13: ‘Is Turner’s ELeague for fans or advertisers?’ and more insights
- Week 12: ‘Understanding celebrity investment in eSports’ and more insights
- Week 11: ‘Audiences vs. Viewership in eSports’ and more insights
- Week 10: What does eSports on TV really need?
- Week 9: ‘Cineplex takes a shot at eSports market’ and more insights
- Week 8: ‘The potential of eSports and gaming as mainstream’ and more insights
- Week 7: ‘Vodafone partners with G2 eSports’ and more insights
- Week 6: ‘MP & Silva has been named the global marketing rights partner of Garena’
- Week 5: ‘ESPN continues investment in collegiate eSports’ and more insights
- Week 4: ‘ESPN eSports must exhibit hyper focus’ and more insights
- Week 3: ‘eSports is growing but has not started scaling yet’ and more insights
- Week 2: ‘Deloitte joins the eSports numbers debate’ and more insights
- Week 1: ‘Sport property continues commitment to eSports’ and more insights
Image source: eslgaming.com, Photographer: Helena Kristiannsonr