The Rise of eSports Marketing
By: Jackson Hayes
While many people have considered gaming to be just an enjoyable pastime, eSports is rapidly becoming one of the most lucrative industries in the world. eSports games, from NBA 2K to Fortnite to League of Legends, are being competitively played at professional levels and generating massive audiences both online and in-person. As of 2021, the worldwide eSports audience has reached 474 million people and by 2024, it is projected that there will be 577 million viewers worldwide.
Both endemic (sponsors that create products used in eSports) and non-endemic (sponsors that create products that are not essential to the production of eSports) brands are entering the industry due to the massive exposure to young global audiences. According to NJ Games, viewership is split 62% men and 38% women with over half of the audience aged between 21 and 35 years old.
As brands recognize the opportunity to market their products to massive audiences, the industry continues to see incredible results. In 2021, the global eSports market was valued at just over $1.08 billion and is expected to reach $1.68 billion by 2024.
The gaming industry has already seen a multitude of successful partnerships from both endemic and non-endemic brands. An example of a non-endemic sports marketing campaign, Louis Vuitton partnered with Riot Games for the annual League of Legends World Championship, one of the biggest events in eSports entertainment. Louis Vuitton created a one-of-a-kind trophy case that was awarded to the champion, designed a number of skins for characters in the game, and other League of Legends digital assets. Successfully targeting their intended demographic, Louis Vuitton sold all of their merchandise in less than 24 hours.
Other successful partnerships in the industry include Bud Light x Overwatch, Activison x Blizzard, and Animal Crossing x KFC.
As investment in the eSports industry continues to increase, so will opportunities for brand partnerships and collaborations. eSports partnerships provide a new route for marketing to younger audiences on a massive scale, so if you are interested in finding new ways for brand engagement, eSports might be the way to go!