Inside the lucrative world of professional video gaming | FT

Big broadcasters such as Sky and ESPN and mainstream brands such as Audi and Betway are getting into esports in a bid to target a young demographic that increasingly rejects linear TV and traditional forms of advertising. The FT’s Daniel Garrahan reports.

Oh god india’s – there’s still more to go though cowboy must plant the bomb the peeps come in but guarded thousands of people are packed into london’s wembley arena they haven’t come to see the latest band or comedians for they’re here to watch people play video games the first thing you notice in this country’s arena is the audience which is very large very young

And very male now in – tala the best the next big bear gets rise again is that sport people say it’s not spore and that’s where these guys are athletes they’re a large venue full of people watching people play video games might seem hard to fathom for fans of traditional sports the idea that millions would watch it on tv feels even less likely but sky sports

In the uk has followed disney’s espn in the us and is broadcasting a major esports event from london for the first time i think it’s keiter you looking to innovate esports is on on the rise while the traditional sports viewership and the spectators are kind of stagnating there are aging and becoming older while here you have a very interesting younger demographic

The professional teams competing in this tournament and made up of five players but some have a third of 30 people and their backroom staff we are a lot of you know people doing content sales delivery pr and press and social media and you know so there’s a lot and then there’s the whole performance side of things with the director of sports and and such they have

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Physical coaches mental coaches you’ve got you’ve got a director of sports so somebody who mental coaches did he just say yeah and a sports psychologist so they have you know people working with them on the mental side of things and the physical side of things to make sure that they stay in shape eat right sleep right and it’s important that they eat point you’ve

Got a nutritionist for a team that plays video game it’s it’s insanely important actually these guys when when when they’re playing they’re sitting you know for hours and they need to focus and be able to concentrate you know a hundred percent throughout that attention to detail might sound excessive until you look at the numbers the global market for esports is

Worth over half a billion dollars in 2017 led by china and the us that’s predicted to rise to 1.5 billion dollars by 2020 the sky and espn is about reaching a demographic that’s increasingly beyond their grasp a younger audience less likely to watch linear tv or mainstream sports it’s very unlikely that esports will currently translate into subscriptions for people

Like sky or espn part of the value for them now is building up a brand association but until they can get exclusive rights to these made to major competitions which is not going to happen for some time i’d imagine it can be very difficult to directly translate that those broadcasts into revenues the size of the business behind esports and depends the broadcaster’s

Interest the global video games industry has overtaken hollywood and is projected to be worth 140 billion dollars by 2021 and it’s one of the fastest growing categories in the two trillion-dollar media and entertainment industry according to a recent survey by deloitte advertising and sponsorships are going to be esports key growth areas over the next year as it

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Expect there are plenty of gaming companies sponsoring this event the mainstream brands such as betway and od are targeting the esports audience – they’re becoming immune to you know traditional media almost they’re used to being spoken to in a certain way they’re used to getting their their news all their content from very specific channels so if you want to reach

Them you have to go through these channels and that’s what what we provide the game is it all seems too good to be true this tournament has a prize pool of a million dollars while epic games is providing 100 million dollars for its fortnight competition some people are leaving well-paid jobs to pay video games full time i know some players that used to be investment

Bankers or lawyers they they were good at the game that was their passion so they decided to give it a shot and some of that can over half a million a year has even been a move to take esports to the olympics although the ioc said it would be a red line to include any games the in violence with the gaming population now standing at 2 billion people worldwide and

With broadcasters and sponsors taking notice esports are busting their way in scoring stream

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Inside the lucrative world of professional video gaming | FT By Financial Times

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