This week the ‘eSports IQ by Alex Fletcher‘ features the following content: Vodafone partners with G2 eSports; Super League Gaming brings back organized youth Minecraft leagues; Activision CEO states that eSports will reach the billion dollar revenue mark; An eSports arena in Vegas?
Spain as hotbed for eSports marketing
After announcing that Vodafone will be joining as a partner, G2 eSports also introduced the team which will compete under their new sponsor’s banner of G2.Vodafone. To clarify, this new roster is separate from G2 eSports’ top LoL team (G2.Kinguin) already competing in Riot Games’ EU League Championship Series (LCS). While the sell of naming rights for a second-tier team to a multi-national telecommunications giant is an impressive accomplishment, it also highlights how the variance in cultural acceptance of eSports affects its sponsorship marketplace.
Spain, home of G2, continues to exhibit forward thinking eSports marketing from its sport and business communities. Recently, Spanish professional basketball team, Baskonia, completed absorption of an eSports organization with integrated sponsorship support from Mars Gaming. Now Vodafone’s commitment to an organization’s 2nd team in a game title, one which wasn’t even formally assembled in advance of the partnership, further speaks to the country’s general readiness to embrace competitive video games as the future of entertainment and sport.
eSports for all
If you want to project the trajectory of competitive video games over the next 5 to 10 years, look past the multi-million dollar prize pools for professional tournaments and examine the gathering momentum at the amateur level. Super League Gaming is doing just that, by bringing back organized youth Minecraft leagues for a second season, in 2016. The startup’s goal of becoming the “little league of video games,” for children as young as 6 years of age, is set to reach 68 cities in the continental United States.
The bigger picture is that video games are emerging as a common denominator amongst youth populations across the world. Where sports, music and pop culture can vary from region to region, video game play is now a widely shared activity. Hugely popular game titles like Minecraft generate massive amounts of attention and engagement, which make them an ideal nexus for companies seeking to attract/monetize those latent audiences. Look for the trend of organized, competitive play at the amateur level, to create more opportunities to pull casual gamers into the eSports marketplace.
The NFL for eSports
Activision CEO, Bobby Kotick, went on record claiming that eSports could one day reach the billion dollar revenue mark. Kotick stated, “The opportunities that we see there is roughly $5 billion of operating profit, $4 billion of league payments for the broadcast rights.” While the parallel between competitive gaming and traditional sports is notable, it is somewhat misplaced in this regard. The broadcast model for electronic sports is open and global, an antithesis to the regional and pay-to-watch approach of professional sport leagues. Attempting to monetize freely streamed eSports content in the same way as televised sports content is not an easy prospect. Plus, leagues, like the NFL are not formal business. Instead, they are not-for-profit organizations that funnel money back to the individual teams. This type of ecosystem is entirely non-existent within competitive video gaming, a fact that casts a shadow of doubt on Activision’s projections. Still, there is tremendous potential for return on investment within eSports for Activision, making them a key name to watch in 2016.
An eSports arena in Vegas?
Ourgame International Holdings Ltd. has its sights set on Las Vegas as a home for an arena built for competitive video games. With an arena already in Beijing and plans to build others across the world, Ourgame is still in preliminary talks surrounding details for a Nevada location. This news is prime example of the growing importance of locality in eSports, especially in North America. Primarily thought of as an online activity, competitive video game play is actually a form of entertainment which has the ability to scale in offline settings. However, there are a number of unknowns surrounding which business models can be constructed around this reality. Namely, general levels of consumer demand for the smaller, more frequent events targeted by companies like Ourgame and eSports Arena. Despite obvious potential, more light must be shed on the business value for this brand of experience to accelerate similar locations.
- Vodafone gets into esports, sponsors G2 – dailydot.com
- Baskonia fully integrates the eSports division in its structure – baskonia.com
- Youth video game league plugged in for 2nd season – sfgate.com
- Activision Expects eSports Revenues to Rival NFL – alistdaily.com
- Will video game arena come to Las Vegas Strip? – http://vegasinc.com/
- The Power of Place in eSports – entivagroup.net
- The Importance of Star Power in eSports Marketing – esports-marketing-blog.com
- Understanding Sport Properties and eSports – entivagroup.net
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. Increase your eSports iQ today by signing up for the eSports IQ newsletter!
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Image source: eslgaming.com, Photographer: Helena Kristiannson