Marketing In The Next Generation Of Sports

How to Win With Esports Fans

In the marketing world, the term Sports conjures up images of athletes, live action, star power, massive reach and amazing national brand exposure (not to mention large price tag). But there’s a new “sports” movement on the rise – a digital revolution of sorts that’s attracting roughly 335 million people, and advertisers are taking notice.

Esports – video game competitions between professional players or teams – have been around for a while, but have grown substantially as of late. Today, tournaments featuring top players pack stadiums full of spectators. And these aren’t little competitions – players go head-to-head for prizes of up to $24 million. The whole business is estimated to be worth almost $1.5 billion by 2020.

The crowds and numbers that competitive video gaming brings in got Esports on advertiser’s radars. Last year, brands spent $468 million trying to capture an allusive demographic that makes up the core of Esports fans: the 21 to 35 year old male millennial.

However, there’s a delicate balance that needs to be struck when reaching this demographic. This fan base doesn’t want brands forcing their way into a pastime they love, fearing Esports will “sell out” or become too commercial and lose the love of gaming that made it special to them.

To win with this base, brands should be fans first, like they were, before trying to sell their product. This native advertising approach is best: do the homework to deeply understand the audience. Pick up a controller and log some a few sessions truly appreciate the appeal. Or if you can’t beat ‘em, hire ‘em: add a gamer or two to inform a sound strategy.

There are a number of marketing channels to reach the gaming crowd that must be chosen carefully. Outlets like Twitch, Live Events, Facebook and YouTube are popular with the Esports crowd. In 2016, Twitch, a streaming service for watching people play video games live, pulled in 2.2 million unique streamers with 292 billion minutes watched. This is where an expertise in Esports and gaming is important: partnering with someone who lives and breathes this world gives a brand a better opportunity to reach and connect with the audience.

Esports advertising isn’t easy, but understanding the audience and doing some homework, brands can crack in successfully and create a loyal fan base. It’s more than just trying to sell – it’s about embracing their culture and becoming a gamer like them.

If you’re looking to create new and exciting ways to connect with your audience, call us we’d be glad to show you how.

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