The sports and entertainment landscape is constantly changing and evolving, and staying on top of trends can help marketers know where to allocate their time and budgets to reach their target audiences.
One area that has shown extensive growth in recent years is eSports, the electronic world of professional video gaming. With a dedicated fan base, significant investment and high-profile celebrities involved, it’s important to know these key points of the eSports industry.
High-profile celebrities are partly responsible for helping fuel the growth of eSports, with former NBA player Rick Fox being highly involved in his team ownership of Echo Fox. Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal and MLB players Alex Rodriguez and Jimmy Rollins recently invested in ownership of the NRG eSports team, while Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and actor Ashton Kutcher have taken a different path, investing in the eSports betting platform, Unikrn. Then there are other celebrities who play eSports like NBA players Jeremy Lin and Gordon Howard, former NFL player Chris Kluwe and singer Justin Bieber.
Major eSports competitions offer substantial amounts of prize money to help entice players to compete. The International 2015 Dota 2 Championships had a grand prize of more than $6.5 million, allowing all members of the five-player team to become instant millionaires. As for sponsorships, endorsements, advertisements and partners, the industry brought in $750 million in 2015. By 2018, revenue is expected to increase to $1.9 billion.
eSports fans, a majority of whom are males between the ages of 18 and 34, devour content online and spend millions of dollars each year attending events in person. In June 2016 alone, fans spent more than 445 million hours watching competitions on Twitch, representing year-over-year growth of 22.3 percent. And according to BI Intelligence, fans will spend $34 million on buying tickets in 2016 while also spending $19 million on merchandise and $59 million on betting and fantasy sites.
As the upward trend of competitive gaming continues, it’s on pace to become a very popular sport. Keeping an eye on eSports trends should be in your playbook for targeting younger demographics moving forward.