eSports has been gaining ground in terms of audience in recent years and not surprisingly brands have followed this highly engaged audience. According newzoo, globally there are 191M eSports ‘enthusiasts’ and 194M ‘occasional viewers’, approx. 20% growth over 2016 in total audience. By 2020, the total audience will be 589M. eSports revenue will grow to 1.5Billion by 2020 as brand investment doubles. North America has the largest share @37%, China 15%, South Korea 7%. Rest-of-the-World is @ 41%.
A quick look at the “eSports earnings.com”* reveal impressive figures (*a community sourced website). A total prize money of $72M so far in 2017 from 2047 tournaments involving 10481 active players. There are eSports franchise for major tournaments like FIFA, NBA and the latest to enter the fray is Formula 1.
Primary reason for these developments is the ambition to bring a wider audience into the franchise, majority of them being younger. eSports is not about individual gamers alone but also the entire package of live competition in packed arenas with a loyal fanbase. And this is where brands have real opportunity to engage with the fans. As per onlinevideo.net , to reach the eSports fans, brands need to tell players’ stories. There needs to be concerted efforts to reach the audience within the arena and outside.
NASR eSports was launched with an ambition of growing eSports in the Middle East. There are cultural, social and economic factors that will influence its growth in this region. Looking at the success stories in other markets, getting the right brands to get involved from the beginning, players to be professionally managed and clearing misunderstandings around the sports can help in earning a respectable spot for the region. MEGL is the first Arabised Esports tournament platform. They plan to organise tournaments across various cities – focusing on GCC first. eSports in the region is still small, brands can take advantage of the uncluttered space and provide the much-needed support for its growth