In recent years, esports has grown into a worldwide entertainment phenomenon. For those who are unfamiliar, esports is essentially a multiplayer video game, played competitively and for the benefit of a spectator audience. Most of the time, esports competitions are handled by professional gamers. The audience, meanwhile, may stream the action from their home computers or handheld devices, anywhere in the world.
Esports promises great fun, fantasy, and a sense of escape—but its appeal isn’t just for gamers. Brands, too, are getting in on the action, leveraging the interest around esports to create some buzz and some visibility. That’s something we discussed in a recent Forbes editorial.
As we noted in the article, esports has won the attention of some of the biggest brands in the world—credit card companies like Mastercard, gaming companies like Riot Games, even big-name pro-sports owners. These well-known brands have invested serious capital in the creation of their own esports teams, products, and leagues.
This investment has benefitted the esports industry immensely; studies show that esports hit around $137.9 billion last year, and could be up to $180.1 billion by 2021.
It’s not hard to understand why brands would want to be in on this action. Esports has an incredibly engaged fan base with most viewers spending more than seven hours each week watching esports. They also have a willingness to engage with a lot of new, nontraditional media. With that said, the industry is complicated and varied, and it’s not a good fit for brands that are seeking a quick and easy return on investment.