Esports (short for electronic sports) is professional teams competing in multi-player video game tournaments for huge prize purses in front of millions of fans. It’s a huge marketing opportunity that has managed to slip under the radar of most CPG brands.
Here’s what you need to know.
- Over 36 million people watched last year’s League of Legends Championship. For comparison, the NBA 2016 Finals had 31 million viewers.
- The International Dota 2016 Championships had a prize pool of $20 million—-that’s twice as big as the 2016 Master’s Golf purse.
- The Philadelphia 76ers just purchased two esports teams for their franchise. Shaq and Jeremy Lin have also invested in teams.
- TBS and ESPN2 broadcast key esports events in 2016.
- The International Esports Federation petitioned the IOC for esports to become an Olympic sport.
- The largest segment of esports viewers are hard-to-reach Millennial men with high disposable incomes. They tend to be primary grocery shoppers and plan big-ticket purchases in the near future.
- Only a handful of CPG brands—Coke, Doritos and Red Bull—are focused on esports. All the sports’ other big supporters are technology companies.
- All kinds of marketing opportunities are available: event or team sponsorships, player endorsements, ads in video streams, etc.
Sources: Esports earnings.com 2016, Forbes 2016, Kotaku.com 2016, Mashable 2016, Smart Launch 2015