The naysayers of esports are biting their tongues as it continues to expand and change the sports industry in big ways. As a 2017 report from Newzoo found, there are 191 million esports enthusiasts worldwide, and just the esports industry alone generated $696 million in revenue.
That big money means esports is reshaping the sports world in big ways:
For over 15 years, Major League Gaming (MLG) has been a leader in the esports world. It’s the most recognized brand and continues to be a pioneer of the industry.
Similar to other sports leagues, like the MLB and NBA, they’re even offering a live streaming platform. MLG.tv streams content for free, giving access to their own championship events. Also, MLG.tv users can chat with other users and connect with top personalities.
At the beginning of 2016, Activision Blizzard, one of the biggest gaming companies, acquired MLG. Since then, they started building what they hope to be the ‘ESPN of esports.’ The organization even begin building arenas. Just a few months ago, they opened Blizzard Arena in LA.
As esports participation and viewership continues to soar, many media companies are providing coverage and broadcasting events. For example, ESPN added an esports section to their site to share the latest news in the industry.
One of the biggest events in recent history was the 2016 League of Legends World Championship finals. According to research from Riot Games, the developer and publisher of League of Legends, this event generated 43 million unique viewers.
These numbers are staggering. It’s no wonder other major networks, like TBS and Disney, are broadcasting major events too. For example, Disney aired portions of a Super Smash Bros. tournament and a Street Fighter tournament on its TV channel Disney XD.
Sponsorships and Advertising
With all the growing exposure, there are several companies looking to cash in. Between sponsorships and advertising, esports is a whole new area for big brands to get in front of their demographics.
In fact, in November 2017, HP and Intel announced they’re teaming up to sponsor Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League, an official esports league that is based on the popular shooter game, Overwatch, which has 35 million active players monthly.
Other sponsorships come from several other industries such as automotive, food and beverage, personal care, and finance.
The demand for data in sponsorship has grown so much that Nielsen announced Nielsen Esports, which will “provide sponsorship valuation, fan insights, custom industry research and consulting services to rights holders, media platforms and brands” in the competitive video gaming space.
Digital video advertising is especially effective in the esports world. For example, the free streaming service from MLG is supported by ads. According to MLG’s research, their streaming platform outperforms the industry in the following digital video advertising aspects:
- Completion rate: 90% vs 72%
- Click through rate: 4% vs 2%
- Ad viewability: 99% vs 44%
You can expect more advertising and sponsorships to enter the esports world.
The industry of esports and video gaming competition goes beyond consoles and PC gaming. Now, more companies are making the move into the mobile device gaming world.
As smartphones become more ubiquitous and powerful, developers are bringing gaming competitions to everyone’s pockets.
Skillz, an esports platform, makes this simple for developers. They offer a software development kit (SDK), which enables developers to offer cash prizes and connect tech partners with sponsors.
The mobile esports world is bound to expand even more as newer technologies bring higher computing power into everyone’s mobile devices.
One of the best parts of the esports boom — there are plenty of job opportunities. From broadcasting, development, marketing and advertising to IT and data analytics, this industry presents several lucrative career options.
This is especially exciting for esports fanatics. If you are building your expertise and skills in a different industry, you can make a transition into esports.
The first step is networking. My company, JobsInSports, conducted a survey and found that 60 percent of employers say they give referred candidates more attention and consideration than other candidates.
Start attending local events and join online communities. Participate by playing your favorite games. You can meet gaming personalities and professionals who are building their esports career.
As you connect, build relationships with them. Showcase what value you have in your professional life and ask about their career.
The more you socialize and build relationships with insiders, the better equipped you are to start your esports career.
What jobs in esports are you most interested in pursuing? Share in the comments!