(The Esports Series: No 2)
Esports is the newest buzzword of 2019. Increasingly we are seeing the term ‘Esports’ referenced in business reports, news updates and at networking conferences. For the uninformed, this begs the question– why is the ‘Esports’ profile rising?
Spelling Out Esports
Before we can even delve into the subject matter on the rise of esports, we must first settle on the appropriate manner to spell esports. Thankfully we need not ruminate on this matter, as it has been overwhelmingly decided — the term is either spelt Esports or esports.¹ There is no longer any discussion on the correct terminology and all of whom are engaging in this emerging industry, must as a collective, reference the term esports appropriately.
Those who lead and those who are entering the esports industry on scientific, professional or business platforms should also adopt the appropriate spelling of esports or risk appearing uninformed.
From Zero to Hero
The reason that esports warrants a level of conformity is due to the large strides the industry has made in the last decade. Once ridiculed and sidelined as a ‘basement-geek’ hobby, the current numbers and predicted ranges of esports growth are staggering.
Currently the “game-video-content-audience for Esports stands at 750 million people as of 2018”, this number is expected to swell to over a billion people by 2022.² Viewership trends over the last decade also indicate constant growth. Furthermore, studies indicate that the amount of time spent watching esports has constantly risen; growing from 1.3 billion hours to 3.7 billion hours from 2012 to 2014 alone.³
Moneyball or Moneysports
Correlated to the constant uptick of viewership is the increase in esports related revenue. It is projected that Esports revenue will reach a staggering 1.1 billion in 2019 — an increase of 230 million dollars from 2018.⁴
Esports prize pools have also grown immensely; reaching an incredible 155.9 million dollars in 2018.⁵ It is undeniable that the esports wave is here and the newest kid on the block is about to start punching above its weight class.
The meteoric rise of the esports industry has not gone unnoticed. In the last few years, endemic esports brands such as Razer (i.e. computer paraphernalia and computer components) which have actively supported the esports industry benefited from the surge in esports industry and numbers, reaching a net valuation of $4.3 billion.⁶
Enter Player Two
Non-endemic brands are also realizing that the esports industry is a lucrative platform that can galvanize and revitalize their branding and expand user engagement.
For example, Samsung has partnered with popular Twitch Streamer, Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins for a series of advertisements.⁷ Kellogg has signed a long-term commitment to Major League Soccer esports efforts⁸ while MasterCard has signed a multi-year deal with League of Legends — the first-ever global sponsorship of esports.⁹
Non-endemic brands are entering this industry in an attempt to engage the currently untapped esports audience. It is also crucial to understand that esports has developed without traditional infrastructures such as marketing, analytics, advertising and brand engagement, which remains criminally underdeveloped in the esports ecosystem. Despite this, the esports industry has grown as the statistics above indicate and the industry is still constantly growing.
Opportunity or Hurdle
While this growth offers numerous opportunities for non-endemic brands to enjoin the esports industry and offer support in the form of traditional infrastructures, it also allows for new technologies that aid brand activation and ensure esport audience engagement to flourish.
There is room to grow for both non-endemic and endemic brands. While non-endemic brands are interjecting themselves into this esports wave, reports indicate that esports audiences may be resistant to the influx of such brands.¹⁰
This will be a hurdle to cross — and perhaps a good start would be to get the spelling of ‘Esports’ right.
Too Long Did Not Read (TL; DR)
- There are only two ways to spell Esports; and if you get it wrong you look uninformed.
- Esports growth in terms of audience and revenue is about to cross into the billions in the next five years.
- Endemic brands and movers have already profited from the Esports boom and non-endemic brands are looking to join them.
- There is huge space for newer technologies and players to help from proper infrastructures over the Esports industry
We are TOKIGAMES, a B2B marketing solution provider that innovates, develops, and provides games as a marketing audience engagement solution. This is the second article of the Esports Series that TOKIGAMES will be publishing in order to introduce the esports phenomena to the wider Medium audience.
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 ‘Thank God — Wikipedia has changed eSports to Esports’ (PCN Games; November 2018); ‘AP Style Guide Confirms Correct Spelling of Esports’ (Esports Hollywood; March 2017).
 2019, Global Esports Market Report by Newzoo; pg. 22.
 The Evolution of Esports: An Analysis of its Origin and A Look At its Prospective Future Growth as enhanced by Information Technology Management Tools; pgs. 17–18.
 See Note 2 at pg. 24.
 ‘Esports Prize Pools: 155.9 Million’ (Medium; February 2019).
 ‘Ng brothers are Singapore’s Richest’ Razer CEO Tan Min Liang Makes Billionaire List’ (Straits Time Newspaper; March 2018).
 ‘The Top 10 Non-Endemic Sponsorships of 2018’ (The Esports Observer; December 2018).
 ‘Kellogg’s MLS Deal Includes Esports Support’ (Sports Business Journal, February 2019).
 See Note 7.
 2017, The Esports Playbook; Maximizing Your Investment Through Understanding the Fans by Nielsen; pg. 23.