E-mergence: the rising popularity of esports

Just a few weeks ago, the NBA (National Basketball Association) held their league’s player draft. However, it wasn’t the College Player draft NBA fans might be thinking of, but their inaugural NBA 2K esports league draft. Mavs Gaming, owned by Mark Cuban and the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks franchise, owned the #1 overall pick and took 23 year-old Artreyo Boyd. Boyd will now move to Dallas and try to help the Mavs Gaming franchise win esports games—just as if he were playing professional basketball for the Dallas Mavericks. The NBA 2K League is only one example of over 25 esports leagues that span dozens of game genres and titles across the globe. 

So, what is esports? According to Emerald Insight  esports is organized, multiplayer video game competitions between professional players, owned by professional teams. The most common video game genres in esports are real time strategy games, fighting, first person shooter, and now sports.

Traditional sports teams and leagues such as the NBA, NHL, NFL and FIFA are becoming more involved and bringing their fans with them. Universities are offering esports scholarships, and training facilities now offer programs that give players the opportunity to train in fitness, nutrition, and eye-hand coordination. By 2024, esports is even expected to be a medal event at the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

According to Statista, esports is a $1.4B industry, with a global audience of 386 million viewers, expected to jump to 589 million viewers by 2020. Esports has grown increasingly popular around the world and demand for coverage of the sport has never been stronger.

 

According to Statista, esports is a $1.4B industry, with a global audience of 386 million viewers, expected to jump to 589 million viewers by 2020.

To capitalize on the craze, Reuters has recently launched a news wire service devoted to coverage of esports, available now to Reuters News Agency customers. The Reuters esports Wire features global coverage of the competitive gaming industry, including breaking news, player acquisitions, sponsorship deals and coverage of the largest esports tournaments. Coverage will be delivered with the same detail and analysis as any major sports league, with content provided through a partnership with sports text provider, Field Level Media.

As of today, esports coverage exists only as a novelty, but Reuters will be bringing it to the mainstream as an everyday part of our news gathering team. As one of the ONLY news publishers around the globe that covers the business of esports, we will demonstrate why esports is here to stay, and how it’s changing businesses all over the world.

How are brands getting involved?

Esports attracts some of the most prestigious brands from across the globe with advertisers such as Amazon, Coca-Cola, Google, Intel, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, Samsung, and Sony having created lasting and profitable partnerships in the industry.

The reason that multiple billion dollar brands are so intrigued, and want to get involved with esports, is the sheer growth in size and rising popularity. Last year, according to Marketing Week, Mercedes-Benz made its high-profile entry into the esports sector by announcing a partnership with the world’s largest esports company, ESL, spanning tournament sponsorships across several countries. “The growth of the esports sector has been amazing to watch,” explained Bettina Haussmann, senior manager sponsoring, product placement and motorsports at Mercedes-Benz in a recent interview in Marketing Week. “For us, esports is a logical extension of our already very strong sport sponsorship portfolio, where we have already achieved enormous brand recognition,” she adds.

Brands look at esports as a way to connect with the next generation; a more authentic way to get in touch with their future consumers and fans. With sold-out stadiums around the world, millions of dollars in prize money, and millions more hours of streaming, brands are more confident than ever that esports has not reached its potential. Reuters is incredibly eager, and equally as excited, to cover esports and follow this thriving sport for years to come.

By Alex Lewin

 

 

Reuters Plus is working with brands to showcase their involvement in esports and exploring the emerging changes, and rise, of this phenomenon. We will cover the sector’s growth potential and how pro sports franchises see it as an integral mechanism to keeping young fans engaged beyond real games. The brand campaign will include an event and content series, utilizing Reuters unrivaled expertise and global insight. Contact us now to learn more.