Tag Archives: sports business

Marketing and esports: Understanding the esports fan

Publishers, teams, athletes and broadcasters share a common goal: they want to engage the fans. The more esports can attract and engage fans, the more attractive esports will be to sponsors, advertisers and investors.

But who is the esports fan? Here are some key insights on this growing segment.

The worldwide esports audience reached 395 million in 2018, according to Newzoo, and was expected to grow by 15% in 2019. Fans average 100 minutes per watching session on platforms like Twitch, Mixer or YouTube Gaming.

Asia-Pacific accounts for 57% of the esports enthusiasts, while North America is the largest esports market on a per capita basis, boasting revenues of $409.1 million. The 23.9 million Esports Enthusiasts in North America will generate $17.13 per fan this year, higher than in any other region.

Seven out of ten esports fans are males that range from 18 to 34 years of age with Nielsen reporting that the average age of an esports fan is 26 years old. Most esports fans are young, early adopters, active on social media channels such as Twitter and Reddit, and grew up online or with tech-related interests (video games, media, computers, mobile apps, and IoT).

In fact, it’s reported by Newzoo that among “North American male millennials (age 21 to 35), esports is just as popular as baseball or hockey, with 22% watching it. In North America, the most popular sport in the region, football, is only twice as popular as esports among male millennials. For male viewers between the ages of 36 and 50, football is only three times as popular as esports.”

Reasons why male fans engage with esports:
To learn tips and tricks from the professionals – 44%
Entertainment aspects – 41%
To become a better gamer – 39%
To connect/meet/socialize with other games – 19%
To participate in or see cosplay – 9%

Reasons why female fans engage with esports:
Entertainment aspects – 40%
Learn tips and tricks from the pros – 36%
To become a better gamer – 29%
To connect/meet/socialize with other gamers – 22%
To participate in or see cosplay – 13%

More people watched the finals of the League of Legends World Championship than the Super Bowl in 2018 (approximately 200 million viewers versus 98 million). It is an opportunity brands cannot miss.

The future of sports sponsorships measurements

It’s not a secret that when you place your corporate logo on a jersey or in an arena you expect your reach to extend beyond the event itself. When brands spend six or seven figures to sponsor a team (or in the case of Scotiabank, $40 million per year for the next 20 years for naming rights to the former Air Canada Centre) they expect measurable return on their investment. Yet for too long, sponsorship has been an inexact science.

Digital has changed the way we consume entertainment; it has also changed the way brands approach sponsorship. With social media measurement tools, camera ad tracking and other digital innovations, rights holders and teams have a clearer understanding of the value of their offering, which helps to set realistic KPIs for brands.

Let’s look at how technology might change sports sponsorship in the near future:

Real-time sponsorship

Some sponsorship opportunities will be purchased programmatically and priced dynamically. Teams and right holders will capitalize on games with the highest viewership – or even individual plays within a game – knowing that they can prove the ROI to sponsors. Would Coca-Cola pay more to be seen on camera during the final moments of a decisive Game 7 in the playoffs?

Someone will own the market

Many companies currently offer sponsorship measurement tools to brands and teams, utilizing a variety of technologies. GumGum sports has created an analytics dashboard where brands can see the media value each day, measuring social, streaming, broadcast and digital reach. Elevant has created a similar platform with its own measurement algorithms. Signs indicate that “Google Analytics for Sponsorship” is coming. The question is whether one platform will own the market before leagues, teams or big tech companies can develop their own measurement tools.

Data leads to innovation

As sponsorship tracking improves and brands are able to gather accurate viewership and demographic data, how will they utilize this data to create more targeted, relevant and engaging content? And how will teams and rights holders use the data to develop more innovative sponsorship opportunities? The opportunities are there for the taking.

Top sports marketing trends for 2019

What are the sports marketing trends for 2019 and how can you get ahead of the curve? Field Day has compiled three trends that we believe will have a big impact in the coming year. From weak signals to megatrends, these trends have already started to impact sponsorships, distribution, and even teams. Whether you are a team, sports organization or a business looking for opportunities in this sector, those trends should be considered in your 2019 marketing planning.

1. A flexible ticket sales strategy brings new customers

Freedom and flexibility are key customer strategies for any business. Leading sports franchises understand that not every fan can afford a full season package, and fans don’t necessarily want to be restricted to a specific number of seats for each game. Teams have long offered “mini packs” with a pre-defined set of games and “flex packs” where fans can choose their own games.

Some teams are now taking flexibility to the next level. The New York Jets have launched the first subscription-based mobile passes that allow fans to attend a predetermined number of games for a flat fee.

Organizations like the New Jersey Devils offer a “banking” system membership, whereby fans choose to make an advance deposit into an account, which is debited to purchase tickets throughout the season. Fans have the ability to choose from any game and any ticket quantity at discounted prices. They can purchase a single ticket or a block of tickets to a game. It’s a ticketing strategy that’s attracting a wider base of customers who appreciate that their favourite team is responding to their varied needs and interests.

2. Learning from the explosive growth of eSports

Efforts to commercialize esports and harness its audience engagement power are intensifying, and the sector is primed for further strong growth.

Sponsorships are bringing the money, representing 40% of the total market revenues. In Germany, McDonald’s switched from soccer to esports sponsorship, partnering with the German National Championship for video games, and ending a long time relationship with the German Football Association.

Smart sport organizations are redefining what it means to be a “customer”. It goes beyond “bums in seats” and merchandising. Teams can continue to expand the fan experience and can learn from esports innovations, particularly in fan engagement, live streaming and the event experience.

3. Tech giants will find their sports business model

In developed markets, pay television has been the engine of media revenue growth for two decades or more. It is clear that this model is being disrupted. The tech giants, particularly Facebook and Amazon, are challenging traditional sports media with Facebook acquiring the rights to the Spanish soccer league “La Liga” for the Indian subcontinent. The social network already broadcasts MLS in the United States at a reported cost of $1m per game, according to Nielsen. As with the rest of Facebook, the content is free but supported by targeted advertising.

Speaking to Reuters, Facebook’s director of global live sports said the La Liga streams would at first be advertising free, but it was considering how best to monetize them in the future.

The internet has globalized the fan base for teams, and in 2019 sports leagues and teams need to rethink their broadcast models. Fans wants and expect to be able to access every game from any location. Local blackouts only penalize your most die-hard customers. Just like flexible ticket packages, when leagues negotiate broadcast rights, they need to keep fan freedom and flexibility as the primary objective.

With 30 years of sports marketing experience, Field Day knows how to reach fans for sports brands and organizations. We can help you to stay ahead of customers’ expectations.