The world of eSports is continually breaking down its own barriers. After a record setting 2016, with a revenue of $493 million and constant growth in both revenue and audience, the growth margin is still significant and Newzoo estimates it will become a billion dollar industry by 2019.
As eSports appeals to quiet a homogenous demographic (37% of the audience is a male between 21 and 35 years old), it is a dream marketing audience and more non-endemic brands are seeing the benefits. Early sponsors like Coca-Cola, Master Card and Red Bull, have since been joined by the likes of Audi. Audi recently unveiled a pilot-case by sponsoring a Danish team for one of the biggest tournaments of the year – this in combination with the launch of their new campaign ‘#untaggable’.
In 2016 more traditional sport clubs in Europe joined the eSports world as well. With Manchester City officially signing a player who will represent them in EA Sports’ FIFA tournaments around the world in 2016. German clubs, who can be viewed as sport associations, have bought existing eSports teams to join their ranks. The French Ligue 1 has partnered with EA and created the e-Ligue 1, while in the Netherlands the Eredivisie has created the e-Divisie.
With a huge marketing potential and an ever growing audience nearing 260 million people and prize pools in a single tournament being as high as $18 million, one has to wonder when the big Belgian companies and sports league will join the countless of millennials into the fascinating world of eSports.