When you think of esports, your first mental image is likely a packed stadium full of excited fans and sponsored players on stage competing for thousands of dollars. While that scene shows off the excitement of esports, professional gamers aren’t the only ones making money. Hundreds of companies have emerged to support the growth of esports.
Everyone from artists to developers to commercial directors are taking advantage of gaming’s growth. This is our esports ecosystem report 2021 changes included.
Tournaments organization is still the core of the esports industry. The core cycle of money going from sponsors to hosts to players is what everything else is built on. The standards for hosting have risen drastically over the past decade. In 2011, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see historic grand finals matches play out in the corner of a convention center. Now, stadiums are taken for granted.
Tournament hosts have to attract both players and sponsors. Prize money goes a long way for both, as high stakes draw better players and more spectators. Dota 2’s yearly finale, The International, boasts prize pools in excess of $40 million dollars. Accordingly, it’s one of the most-watched events of the year.
It didn’t take long for the betting industry to take esports under its wing with so much competitive action. The way esports work is valuable for betting sites; as new games are introduced, older, less popular games die off, leaving fans hungry for a new game. Some titles stick around forever, so there’s lots of potential for each new esports title. Esports betting sites tend to either be dedicated video game-only sites or hybrid sites that offer traditional and virtual sports.
Livestreaming on Twitch, Facebook and Youtube is one of the biggest sectors for any esports ecosystem report. It’s difficult to downplay the connection between competitive gaming and streaming. Many of the most famous streamers, like Shroud and XQC, got their start playing for professional esports teams. The most recognizable streamer in the world, Ninja, is doing the same process in reverse, often publicizing his casual esports efforts. Many esports organizations sponsor a “stream team,” and almost all esports tournaments have a connection to a streaming platform.
Streaming’s audience overlap with esports is highly coveted by marketers, as are the streamers themselves. The market has its own solution providers, including hardware and software developers like Elgato and OBS Project.
Esports provides a unique access point to one of the most difficult-to-breach markets. Computer manufacturers, internet providers and innovative services all want a direct line to gamers in their 20’s with excess income. Gamers are more likely to embrace new tech, further compounding the value of proper advertising. However, appealing to the esports crowd is no easy task. Organic sponsorships from longtime esports supporters like MSI are acknowledged and welcomed, but mishaps like Mercedes-Benz’s Dota 2 debut can result in mixed feelings.
Twitch commercials, tournament sponsorships and team partnerships are the most common forms of esports advertising, though creativity can go a long way to connecting with the audience. Betway’s custom Counter-Strike training maps both provided a fun and valuable service, earning them awards from the industry and attention from fans.
While traditional sports will always have sports analysis channels on television, esports prefers to stick with the internet. Written and video content is valuable to esports fans, so much so that many esports orgs even sponsor content creators.
Coverage can vary from weekly Youtube news features to daily written round-ups. Coverage increases exponentially for major events like the aforementioned International of CS:GO Majors. Some of the biggest companies in esports coverage are theScore and GINX.
As the esports market grows, more industries will pop up to support the esports ecosystem 2021 evolution. Esports events truly spur innovation; when Twitch began cracking down on DMCA copyright violations, musicians immediately went to work creating filter-friendly music for streaming. Every group wants to get in on the esports action.