Esports - where to play? Something for everyone

06 June 2019

Finding the right entry point to the esports market is one of the most common barriers organisations find themselves up against when looking to activate in this space. Of course, this is not a challenge unique only to new entrants to the esports ecosystem. A well thought out, strategically planned market entry point is critical to all organisations entering any new market, at any time, to give the greatest chance of success.


The intricate web of the esports market

Outside organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the esports market. They are attracted to the headline statistics, such as:

  •  A 500m+ global audience 
  •  20% year on year growth
  • Over 2.6 billion hours of esports content being viewed annually

No longer is it mostly trepidation or cynicism that is holding would-be entrants back from making their entry, as it once was. It is finding the right place, the right moment, built on the right reasons, that is preventing entry. It is a fast moving and fragile, evolving layered matrix with a complex supply chain; serving an expectant audience.


Industries converging

However, many bold organisations have made a successful entry and are reaping the benefits. A significant observation is that entry is no longer the sole domain of new endemic start ups, or organisations from technology and gaming.

Other industries are now converging at pace.

Royal Dutch Shell, a major oil & gas company, has partnered with Riot Games’ LEC (League of Legends European Championship) tournament, which includes some clever brand placement & user rewards.

The Esports Observer’s HIVE conference in Berlin contained a fully professional fashion show that showcased specific clothing lines, creatively appealing to the esports audience.

We have already seen financial services make headline sponsorship deals with top tier titles. Automotive manufacturers have been long standing partners of the industry and are always looking for innovative partnerships. Red Bull, leads the way in food and beverages; and their long standing association has made them integral to the fabric of the market, delivering innovative and sustainable content.

Universal’s partnership with ESL took music prominently into esports; leveraging the close relationship that gaming and music have had over many years.

Real estate is playing an ever bigger role now too. With esports becoming more social there is a view that it could help change the face of the high street (hear more on this in our podcast with Estates Gazette).

In the UK we have already seen Excel Esport’s partnership with London’s Twickenham Stadium; the emergence of the Belong arenas across UK cities and the success of major events at flagship venues such as Birmingham’s NEC and London’s O2 and Wembley Arena. Overseas we are seeing esports arenas enter shopping centres, casinos and film theatres also.

Traditional sports has moved quickly on the market, and signs are they will pick up pace. Our latest sports survey finds that 70% of 470 sports leaders surveyed believe it is time to enter the esports arena. US traditional sports franchises are very prominent, as are the likes of Man City, FC Shalke and PSG in Europe. There will be more to follow with the likes of the ECB in England and World Rugby exploring possibilities.


The point of difference

The common factor among successful market entrants is that their move has been well planned and there is a clearly defined objective for their entry; which is either designed to solve a problem or develop an opportunity. Either way the moves are aligned with their organisation’s strategic objectives, built on a solid understanding of the intricacies of the esports industry.

As the market matures, there is something in it for everyone.

For more of my views on what's happening in the esports industry, check out my earlier vlogs and blogs on the growing presence of the UK in esports; what happens when the regulator comes in?; the race to invest and Esports: Is it smooth growth or are there speed bumps along the way? And do get in touch if you'd like to further explore the opportunities in esports.

Andrew Fahey | Director
Profile | Email +44 (0)7738 845455

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