Brands and retailers get in on the esports marketing game
Esports, or competitive gaming, has either surpassed or is close to exceeding $1 billion in global revenues, according to studies. And advertisers are increasingly recognizing the activity’s potential to reach the coveted Millennial demographic.
“Esports fans have unique characteristics that make them more elusive but potentially more lucrative for marketers,” wrote eMarketer principal analyst Paul Verna in the research firm’s first forecast on esports and gaming revenues. “They are typically young, TV-averse Millennials who have higher-than-average disposable income.”
Separate research published in “The Esports Report” from the Video Advertising Bureau found a similar favorable view on the esports demographic:
- Sixty-five percent of esports fans are Millennials, with an average age of 26;
- Sixty-two percent are male;
- Fifty-eight percent are over the age of 25 and live with kids in their households;
- Forty-three percent have an annual household income of $75,000+, with 31 percent over $90,000;
- Thirty percent are more likely to be multicultural.
“Esports deliver a Millennial male-skewing fan base with a deep ‘scale of attention’,” wrote Video Advertising Bureau in the report. “This hard-to-reach audience is passionate and highly-engaged with their favorite teams, players, games and leagues across digital & TV platforms.”
EMarketer predicted esports’ digital advertising revenue will more than double from $102.5 million in 2017 to $213.8 million in 2020. With a boost from mobile access, viewership of games online in the U.S. is expected to expand 18 percent to 30.3 million in 2019 and reach 46.2 million by 2023. The two leading viewing platforms are Google’s YouTube and Amazon-owned Twitch.
Tournaments are also being increasingly aired on ESPN, TBS, Disney and other networks.
Corporate partnerships and monetizing video content have been the main advertising entry into the category. A wide range of brands sponsor events, and Nike recently signed up its first esports player and team.
Among retailers, Walmart and Best Buy last year announced esports sponsorships that included introducing exclusive lines of gaming PCs. Giant Food last year partnered with Procter & Gamble’s Old Spice, Gillette and Tide brands, Nestlé’s Outsiders Pizza brand and Chobani to support the inaugural season of the esports NBA 2K League team Wizards District Gaming.
Both eMarketer and Video Advertising Bureau found esports fans open to marketing messages embedded in the esports experience, whether sponsorships, branded videos, in-game integrations, influencer-driven endorsements or traditional ads.
- Newzoo: Global Esports Economy Will Top $1 Billion for the First Time in 2019 – Newzoo
- US Esports Ad Revenues Will Grow 25% in 2019 – eMarketer
- The Esports Report – Video Advertising Bureau
- Esports Arena Is Set To Launch Inside Walmart Stores – Esports Arena
- Game Like A Pro With New Fnatic PC Gaming Equipment – Best Buy
- Giant Food Announces Partnerships with Proctor & Gamble, Nestlé and Chobani for Wizards District Gaming – Giant Food/PR Newswire
- Activision Is Bringing Esports Franchises To A City Near You – Advertising Age
- As Esports Gain in Popularity, Advertisers Are Coming to Play – Barrons
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see a broad or niche opportunity for retailers and brands to tap into the growing popularity of esports? What are the inherent challenges for retailers and brands looking to connect with esports fans?