By: Jesse Vermette
Electronic sports, otherwise known as Esports, are continually becoming more prominent. Competitive gaming has been around for over two decades, but since the COVID-19 pandemic began there has been a large increase in attention to the market. This industry has greatly benefited from the pandemic due to increased screen time by millions of people worldwide. This has led to increased attention towards the Esports community, which can only prove to be beneficial in both the short and long term.
Before the pandemic, in-person Esports tournaments were common in this community. With the new policies and laws regarding social distancing and venue capacity throughout the world, there have been almost no in-person tournaments within the past year. Unfortunately, this has led to large Esports tournament organizers and sponsors having to lay people off, impose salary cuts, or close completely towards the beginning of the pandemic. On the plus side, this is an online market, so online tournaments have vastly increased throughout the pandemic. This industry revolves around being online, which proves why it is in the minority of industries that have flourished during the pandemic this past year.
With the great increase in the popularity of Esports comes the opportunity for brands to infiltrate and take advantage of this market. Viewership of tournaments, teams, and individual players has greatly increased, allowing brands to reach an audience they did not expect to reach a year ago. Brands can work with individual content creators, professional organizations, games, and others to advertise to this large audience. This audience is generally hard to target if you do not associate your brand with the video game industry. This concept stresses the importance of brands getting involved in this market sooner rather than later.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Esports market could be easily defined as a niche market. The pandemic led to a “boom” for the industry which led to boosted revenue. Brands are beginning to realize that this market is not just the typical casual video game scene, but an opportunity to promote their brand through partnerships and sponsorships. It is very common to see energy drink brands partnering with Esports teams and content creators. These include Red Bull, GFuel, Monster, Mountain Dew Kickstart, and others. Technology companies like Intel, Nvidia, Corsair, HP, and AMD sponsor tournaments and provide equipment for the players. Many brands see that the video game audience has an increasingly large base that can be capitalized upon. There are many opportunities in the Esports scene for these brands that have yet to be tapped into, but I am sure we will only see the industry continue to increase due to the “boom” caused by the pandemic. This will cause more and more brands to partner, sponsor, and fund varying aspects of the industry.
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