When you think of roaring fans, packed-out stadiums, and the thrill of blaring pre-match music, you may not necessarily be thinking esports. The juggernaut of esports has taken the world by storm – captivating the minds and gaming-time of many. Viewership for esports entertainment has grown relentlessly in the last few years, with a reported 223 million enthusiasts in 2020. Every year more and more die-hard fans are streaming virtual esports events to watch their go-to gamers battle it out in their favourite games.
Advertising in esports
The growth of esports is now comparable to traditional sports, with stadiums and arenas selling-out at unprecedented rates (pre-covid), and it’s no surprise that brands are jumping on the opportunity to interact with their harder-to-reach audiences. Lockdowns internationally have seen a surge of gamers interacting in esports and online gaming platforms as an alternative form of entertainment, making brand advertising options increasingly appealing.
Brand pioneers lead the way in esports partnership opportunities, with fast-food giant KFC, online dating app Bumble, and OG’s such as Red Bull and Coca-Cola being acknowledged and making an impact within the community. The accelerating interest in esports sponsorship is creating team, gamer, and hosting opportunities.
In Comes Twitch…
Amazon-owned Twitch is the digital oasis for gamers, providing live-stream gaming and esports content to platform users. Twitch boasts a highly engaged viewership that enables brands to tap into a predominantly young male audience via platform advertising. Twitch, like other social platforms, has its own advertising functionality. Advertising across the platform has proven successful, with its low ad rate and high interactivity features such as live chat.
What makes an advertising success story reality on Twitch? Influencer marketing. Giveaways and shoutouts have proven to be hugely successful due to how immersed streamers are within the platform, which means that when brands partner with influencers, they tend to see a strong return on investment.
Cycling Esports World Championships on Zwift
Last year the first-ever UCI Cycling ESports World Championships happened on Brandnation client, Zwift. Pro athletes included current and former UCI World Champions as well as Olympic Gold Medalists – Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Esteban Chaves, Dame Sarah Storey and more.
“This will be the first event of its kind and I believe it will mark the future direction of sport, fitness and competition. There is no doubt that technology will play a bigger role and this competition perfectly blends technology with what we traditionally associate with physical ‘sport’. Eric Min, Zwift CEO and Co-Founder
The Future of Esports
The rate as to which esports is currently growing will lead to endless opportunities. We can expect both immense innovation and continued esports exposure as a larger number of multinational technology companies begin and continue to invest. Premier League teams, such as Chelsea, even have their own esports teams, which usually play alongside major international football tournaments to increase exposure.