CHARGE's Director of Sales & Marketing Chris Myers is on the ground in Las Vegas, learning and sharing at the Esports Business Summit.
One thing that has been evident through the first two days of the Esports Business Summit in Las Vegas: traditional sports is still on the mind of those in the esports industry. Though each industry is in a different place, people in both esports and traditional sports are valuing player insight -- and tired of hearing the word “authentic.”
There are lessons to learn -- both good and bad -- that esports can take from traditional sports.
One constant in traditional sports is the continued development of performance-based equipment. That concept is no different in esports, with constant upgrades in technology focused on speed and improving game play.
However, we’ve started hearing about several clear shifts in what esports performance equipment will look like.
Now, it isn’t just your keyboard and mouse getting improvements. Omen by HP and K-Swiss listened to esports athletes and are finding creative solutions to improve their comfort level while performing.
Omen is launching a headphone with cooling technology based specifically in feedback from gamers. Esports players had a major issue with their headphones: they would get hot after wearing for 8 hours of gaming. Omen listened and created a specialty product that never would have been created without player insight.
K-Swiss is launching a performance-based shoe in partnership with the Immortals. Not a lifestyle shoe (although they will have those too), but a shoe co-designed by the teams to help their in-game performance. How the shoe will work is a guarded secret (they won't drop until the end of 2018), but the player's input drove the creation of the technology.
Brands are needed - and so are their dollars.
There is a clear fear factor that exists from some brands on entering the esports space. However, the challenge isn’t new.
Selling sponsorship at the end of the day comes down to the opportunities you can present to a brand that helps them meet their challenge. Traditional sport teams have been using social media, players, and team assets to grow their sponsorship platform -- the same way esports are now starting to build out their assets. The challenge is to maximize each platform and create custom content.
There was talk of creating a drinking game around every time someone used the word "authentic," however I believe that should have been switched to “content”. A lot of talk surrounded the HBO series “Hard Knocks” and the role it plays in the success of the NFL, and football as a whole. Creating content for brands is a familiar challenge that esports teams and leagues are investing early in.