Esports is like the hottest restaurant in the best part of town right now. However, Esports is often talked about in a very global manner meaning esports is simply referred to as esports.I know that seems to make sense but let me explain. When you ask your significant other or friends to go out for dinner what is the first question you ask? Is it, what sounds good? Or maybe what food do you want? You have plenty of options you could go for pizza, Mexican, some brand-new fusion concept or just go grab a burger. Well that logic is often ignored when we discuss esports. We talk about the sport as one singular unit also known as the restaurant with too many items on their menu to actually be good at any one thing. Another example is to say esports is bigger than a singular sport league like Major League Soccer. Esports like traditional sports is divided into different genres of games and therefore different type of games. Comparing esports to the MLS is not a fair comparison - comparing one game such as FIFA19 is the better comparison. Knowing this element can help you better understand how to get your brand involved and where. Here are a few additional tips when reviewing potential partnerships for esports that you should keep in mind.
Know your genre: Esports gamers tend to play only 2-3 genres of games. Just like their counterparts in the traditional sports industry, esports gamers find the style that attracts their own sensibilities. So, when you look at data provided by someone looking to sell you a sponsorship for a tournament, team or league, be specific in your requests. Do not settle for overall esports data, look for numbers and stats specific to the genre/game you are potentially sponsoring.
Know what you are buying: There are a lot of areas that currently fall into what people are classifying as “esports”, and it is important to know what you are getting in any package. If you are sponsoring a team, do you get access to the individual player streams on a platform like Twitch? Do you get exclusivity for an organization that has up to eight teams for all of their genres or are you buying into a single team that plays a single game? Drill down into any proposals to know what is and isn’t on the table when it comes to a proposal.
Know who is creating the content: Esports is a digitally native sport. Sure, there are live events that can be extremely beneficial for a brand to engage in, however the primary exposure will come from the digital world. It is important in any agreement to understand your activation costs. Esports properties (teams, leagues and tournaments) in general are very good digitally, they have to be. However, if you engage as a sponsor you will want to make sure all your content matches or exceeds the standard that the property has set. Will that be your responsibility, or will it fall on the content team of the property? The answer to that question can be measured in thousands of dollars when it comes to potential additional activation costs. At the end of the day you need digital content so make sure you have a solution either way.
For more information on the business of esports sign up for our weekly esports business newsletter The Expansion Pack and stay tuned for our release next week of: Esports Marketer’s Training Mode and in-depth look at the industry helping you understand the landscape, know the big names and find a place for your brand.