Each week we bring you a taste of what is happening around the commercial world of esports. We will focus on advances in the Irish sector when there are some, as well as on some of the commercial deals which are taking place and fuelling the rapid growth of this area within the world of sport.
AN INTRODUCTION TO esports
Over the next four weeks, we have joined forces with Colm Roche who heads up Core Sponsorship’s Gaming division to go right back to basics and explain the what, how, who and why of esports.
It will build into a full primer of what brand managers need to know about the surge in interest that is already well in place around the world and which is beginning to land in Ireland.
Part One – What is esports?
Difference between Gaming and esports
In what is perhaps the key for a brand in understanding the entire Gaming industry, we begin with the basics. Two terms that are widely used, in many cases incorrectly, or lumped together as if they were equivalent to each other.
What is Gaming?
In basic terms, Gaming is the act of playing or engaging in a video game for entertainment. This can include activity such as:
- Playing on a console, mobile device, PC, etc.
- Playing online or offline
- Playing for casual entertainment or ‘hardcore’ Gaming
Any activity associated with a video game is incorporated under ‘Gaming’.
An important point to highlight is that Gaming in this context does not include or relate to the gambling industry, its online games or betting on esports?
What is esports?
Esports (“Electronic Sports”) is an element of Gaming that moves beyond the ‘playing for entertainment’ segment into the realm of ‘professionalism’. Esports are multiplayer video games (e.g. League of Legends, Dota 2, Fortnite, Overwatch, etc.) played competitively by professional gamers for their fans.
- They are organised, structured events and can take place online and/or in physical venues (e.g. Madison Square Garden, Wembley Arena, etc.).
- Events can carry substantial financial prizes to attract the worlds best gamers and teams. (e.g. $100million on offer at the 2019 Fortnite World Cup)
- Esport gamers are athletes within their own discipline and like many traditional sports athletes, they train extensively to compete and win, building enormous fan bases as they go.
- Gamer organisations like FNATIC, G2 Esports or 100 Thieves to name a few that gamers play for are no different to sports clubs and are always looking for ways to monetize Gaming & esports activity, as well as their players. (e.g. team apparel, official partner designations, merchandise, etc.) In many cases, these organisations are entertainment companies.
Why the distinction should matter to brands
Too often, Gaming and esports are lumped together on a media plan or as a marketing activity discussion point. Understanding the fundamentals of the Gaming industry as well as the key distinctions between the market segments is vital to unlocking opportunities and audiences for brands.
To know how audiences engage with Gaming v esports, and on what platforms will ensure brands looking to invest in the industry will do so by choosing the right opportunities, mitigate their risk all while enhancing the gamer’s experience and delivering on strategic objectives.
Join us next week for Part Two where we will look at Brand opportunities and where the Irish gaming market is at the moment.
INTRODUCING LEGION ESPORTS
We are pleased this morning to introduce Legion esports series as our new partner in supporting esports through our weekly column.
The Legion esports Series is brought to life by GamerStore.ie who have been to the fore in much of what has been happening in Irish esports over the past year.
Last summer they were the team behind the All Ireland FIFA tournament that pitched Gaelic Players Association members representing their counties in an online tournament.
Laois hurler Eric Killeen emerged as the All Ireland Champion following a final victory over Waterford footballer Aaron Jones in a final where Marty Morrissey did the commentary.
The GamerStore Legion is Ireland’s first content creator development programme, providing for an interesting grassroots-based model of growing awareness of what is happening in the sector here.
We look forward to working with Stuart Dempsey, Paul Gallagher, Robert O’Halloran and the team at GamerStore, as well as other sport for Business members with an interest in the sector, to bring esports to life for brands over the coming weeks, months and beyond.
FORTNITE DEVELOPER NOW VALUED AT $28 BILLION
Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, completed its latest round of fundraising last week which values the company at $28.7 Billion.
This round has seen investment of $1 Billion including $200 Million from Sony as well as Fidelity Management.
To put this valuation in perspective, and to confirm the size and scale of where esports is, that valuation makes the company more valuable than Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City. Combined.
Barcelona is the highest valued major football team according to Forbes magazine calculations based on the 2019-20 season.
Chinese internet giant Tencent owns a 40 per cent stake in the company.
Fortnite itself was only released in 2017 and in May 2020 revealed that there were 350 million registered players around the world.
LEVIS EXPAND INTEREST IN GAMING
Iconic clothing brand Levis have signed ona as a partner of NRG Esports in the United States where they will co-create content and kit out players from teams within the NRG community.
Levis referenced the fact that “esports have become such an important part of today’s youth culture,” as a key reason for the move.
The brand joins Zippo, T-Mobile, Turtle Beach and the US Army as brand partners of NRG ESports.
STATE FARM ENTERS TWITCH PARTNERSHIP
State Farm is one of America’s major insurance companies and one of its biggest advertisers. In 2018 it became a major player in sports sponsorship taking on naming rights of the home stadium of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL and the Atlanta Hawks in Major League Baseball.
At the same time, they signed a partnership with Fortnite streamer DrLupo and last week they entered into a partnership with twitch to become the official insurance partner of Twitch Rivals.
Sport for Business Partners