Newsroom Editor

Gaming and eSports are truly having a moment right now, offering a unique opportunity for marketers to connect with this sizeable and growing fan base, as the entire traditional sports world remains on “pause.”

It’s worth first establishing the difference between eSports and gaming. Gamers or gaming enthusiasts are individuals who enjoy an array of titles, which can range from single player to multiplayer, and which may or may not have a competitive element to them. eSports often takes the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams. While gaming appeals to a broader, more gender-balanced population, eSports is male and millennial-concentrated.

So, what’s the opportunity?          
The cancellation of live events and suspension of sports leagues have forced traditional sponsor brands (and their agencies) with significant media presence in live broadcasts into contingency planning. Additionally, social distancing has led to a significant uptick in gaming participation, stream viewership, and opportunity for brands to stay connected, or begin connecting, with fanbases.  66% of people report that they are playing more video games than before the outbreak. There has also been a 75% increase in overall video game traffic in the U.S. since the stay-at-home restrictions imposed.

Our point of view

The shutdown of professional sports and the rise of social distancing provides brands an opportunity in eSports and Gaming – but not without careful planning and thoughtful messaging. Gamers are sponsor-savvy and know when they are being treated as “test subjects” by brands who are piloting initiatives. A single execution during a pandemic won’t cut it – brands should be prepared to show commitment to this space and fan base for the long term.

Here are five things brands should consider right now in gaming and eSports:

1. Find your unique audience within gaming and eSports.

The gaming audience is more diverse than people realize. Avoid being generic and targeting all “gamers” – find the overlap with your target consumer and ensure you speak authentically to this audience.

2. Unique opportunity to sponsor eSports organizations with digital competencies

A well-positioned organization can deliver engaging content via their talent and resources. global teams like Faze Clan or 100 Thieves are considered best-in-class.

3. Streaming personalities are a good bet for integrated content.    
7 out of the 10 most-watched channels in March 2020 are individual streamers. Brands can work with these figures during this moment to raise awareness of social distancing and responsible behavior.

4. Broadcasters offer alternative for mainstream media dollars.        
Twitch, Mixer and YouTube are all experiencing viewing spikes alongside streaming in-home entertainment. On March 28th, Twitch hosted “Stream Aid 2020”, a livestream tournament event sponsored by P&G and Verizon.

Show up for the long haul.

According to a recent MKTG Canada study, eSports fans are 2x as likely to be loyal to an eSports sponsor than traditional sponsors. While there is opportunity in the short term, to connect authentically, brands must show their commitment to sports fans and this space.

Interested in a deep dive on gaming and eSports? MKTG is your Dentsu resource to collaborate on strategizing, guiding and architecting your exploration of gaming and eSports. Our dedicated team will develop a strategic framework that will connect your brand across the ecosystem in a relevant and authentic way (not a logo slap), while remaining true to your brand’s equity and character.