Every gamer on the planet has tracked the rise of eSports and knows how much of a big industry competitive gaming is. It has even become a viable career path for many young adults. The industry has blossomed over the last ten years and is continuing on a trajectory that sees it earning a projected revenue of more than $1.5 billion by 2023. But while the success of the sector may be common knowledge to those who enjoy games, eSports has not quite done enough yet to be considered mainstream. Competitive gaming now needs to break out into more markets and attract a greater number of viewers if it is to have a chance of one-day usurping traditional sports.
Further Exploitation of Live Streaming
Live streaming is one of the reasons why eSports has exploded in recent times, with Twitch.tv being a platform on which a lot of professional gamers have started out. The streaming service also brought about a trend in spectatorship of video games. Nowadays, a number of the world’s biggest eSports events are live-streamed, making them available to viewers all over the world. The League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational in 2018, for instance, was watched by an astonishing 60 million online viewers.
Competitive gaming now needs to break into other sectors in which live streaming is prevalent, with the online casino industry representing an obvious avenue. This can be done in multiple ways. For example. there is already a strong link between casino and eSports, with many casinos in the entertainment hubs of Macao and Las Vegas building eSports stadiums. This capitalises on the growing betting market in eSports but also serves to attract casino players to the bourgeoning gaming scene. This move is more of a progressive move, considering online casinos belong to the wider entertainment industry, so it is not surprising that casino operators are branching out into avenues such as gaming.
Outside of stadiums, there is a natural transition between both industries occurring, as both have thrived on the new technologies. For example, there are live casinos that offer new ways of playing traditional titles, such as Blackjack and Roulette, noting the importance that streaming has to connect players in a different way. This is something that we will be seeing more of, as live streaming acts a bridge between connecting the players on a global scale, which can be seen with the growth of Twitch as well as the online casino industry as a whole. Naturally, online casinos are now looking to lean more into the eSports angle, as Live Casino also has eSport offerings like Dream Catcher and Crazy Time providing players with different thrills. Perhaps a live casino game related to eSports could soon be on the horizon.
Live streaming has also been used for broadcasting concerts, theatre performances, and major news stories in recent times, and a lot of this is done through social media channels. Perhaps eSports could be doing more to exploit the live streaming craze that has risen to the fore on Facebook since Mark Zuckerberg’s company introduced it in 2017. There were 3.5 billion broadcasts within the first year of Facebook’s introducing live streaming, highlighting how a vast proportion of the 2.7 billion users of the leading social media site are interested in it. By using social media influencers, eSports could gain more followers.
Successful Partnerships With Sports Teams
One model that eSports teams could use to gain more attention is to form partnerships with well-established sports teams. This would allow for cross-promotion between the two sides at the various events they compete in. People who already follow sports are a good demographic for eSports teams to target, as they may be more easily persuaded to watch competitive gaming than non-sports fans. This assertion is backed up by research that suggests that of the 21 million US-based eSports fans, 20 million of them also watch traditional sports.
There are numerous examples of sports teams that have successfully managed to boost their brand by partnering with other sides. One of the most famous cases of this has been Manchester City’s addition of several sister teams in different leagues across the world, which include New York City, Melbourne City, and Mumbai City. The Premier League giant can help bring more attention to these smaller teams as well as funding.
Some eSports teams have already attracted interest from titans in the sports industry. For example, the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, purchased the Overwatch team Boston Uprising in 2017 and Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys owner, has owned a majority stake in CompLexity Gaming since 2017 as well. These lucrative deals can bring more wealth and opportunities to the eSports teams and help them expand their fan bases.
Turning Players Into Celebrities
There have been many sports stars over the years that have proven to be commercially viable and have helped attract more attention to the leagues they played in. David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo are two superstars from football that became so much more than just players and could be considered brands in themselves.
If competitive gaming is to enjoy the same levels of success as traditional sports, it could do with getting its main stars into the public realm more frequently with endorsement and advertising deals. Some of the best-known players to fans of eSports include Faker, GeT RiGhT, and Uzi. These experts have generated huge followings in the eSports scene already and could be used to bring more viewers in.
The eSports industry is expanding rapidly, but it seems like it is still a long way off overtaking the spectator figures of regular sports. Competitive gaming brands need to do more to break out in front of different audiences and increase the number of people interested in the games.