The football industry is making a new, more profound connection to esports in ways that could change the shape of both sectors. Since the world of esports has been progressing in recent years, it has become a key focus for many gaming providers and brands. This niche market is on the way to hit over £1 billion in revenue by the end of 2020, so it is no wonder that it’s seen as massive marketing potential.
While esports is considered as a form of sports entertainment taking place in the virtual world, the future might mix the bigger picture as segments from football and esports blend even more. It is not just growing exponentially as a new independent business, industry or sport, but also accelerating the growth of various established industries such as betting. It provides prospects with the opportunity to capitalise on their favourite pastime activities-watching and playing game-related content.
Definition of esports
Most commonly, esports takes the form of organised multiplayer video game competitions organised between professional players. It typically involves team-based sport with ranked matches. The earliest video game competition took place in 1972 at Stanford University for the game “Spacewar”. The first large scale video game competition was the Space Invaders Championship held by Atari in 1980, attracting more than 10.000 participants across the US and establishing competitive gaming as a mainstream hobby.
Multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBA) games which pit two teams of five players against each other blend strategy and RPG elements together. Each player controls a single character who can level up, buy new items to get stronger and work with teammates to win the competition. Two of the most popular MOBA games League of Legends and DOTA gained a lot of followers during these years. Today, League of Legends has over 80 million active players in a month.
The popularity of online streaming services has also helped the growth of this industry and are the most common channel to follow these competitions. Twitch, the online streaming platform launched in 2011, continually streams popular esports competitions. Data shows that around 3.8 million streamers broadcasted on Twitch up until February 2020. This streaming platform has been quite popular among other forms of gaming, such as online casino games. There are numbers of established players who stream their game, followed by millions of gaming enthusiasts. Check out the free slots to play for fun at SlotsWise and compare their features, gameplay and design.
Tech and media companies are paying quite attention to esports due to the desirable audience demographics. For example, Amazon purchased Twitch for 1 billion in 2014, while the motion picture exhibitor Cineplex spent $15 million to acquire an esports company and create new gaming league that will take place in their theatres. Its estimated business value is too big to ignore. Football clubs such as Manchester City have started to sign FIFA stars who are virtual gamers rather than real, land-based players. PSG, for example, signed up a whole team of players in several different esports tournaments. Digital gaming is where the next generation of fans come from, and clubs have started to recognise that. Very often, a young person’s first interaction with sports is through the FIFA game. At the same time, it will allow clubs to generate new fans of the brand, including Asian and African markets.
Future of esports
This industry is booming and will definitely gain global traction over the coming years. In the future, there will be well-established career paths in the industry, compared to the past where being a gamer was not even considered as a career choice. Thanks to the great number of both casual and professional players worldwide, esports has an incredibly bright future. It won’t be long until it is recognised as a sports discipline, particularly as the industry and infrastructure matures over time.