In the last 5-6 years, most of the big companies opt to spend more of their promotion budget on advertising campaigns on the internet instead of the traditional way of buying ads on TV channels. As esports is the next big thing right now, it definitely enjoys the attention of loads of big companies.
Ads in Esports: Big Companies Adapting to the New Wave
Esports gained a lot of fame and attention in recent years, mostly
due to its large community and the available target group that it offers to the market. Competitive gaming is now perceived as a vital gateway to a sizable portion of Millennials, the most important and virtually unreachable target group for many traditional businesses.
In the early years of esports' rising to fame, few companies were particularly interested in investing some of their marketing budgets on esports ads. Back then, the companies that supported the pro scene were almost exclusively hardware manufacturers like Nvidia, Intel, AMD, etc.
Things changed drastically when the worldwide media gave esports the attention it needed and people knew about the millions of followers they could reach and potentially add to their target group, which resulted in millions of dollars spent on esports events, popular streamers, competitive teams, individual superstars and so on.
The Big Names in Esports Advertising
ESL One as one of the biggest esports event organizer has landed major deals with multiple big names on the scene, including Mercedes-Benz, DHL, Intel, and German beer brand Warsteiner, which showed us how dedicated companies can be, when the community they are reaching is as big as the one watching major events in CS:GO and Dota 2. Viewership numbers on streams, Twitch, and YouTube clips for these games are regularly go well into 6-digit numbers.
Apart from the tournaments, there are also big names stepping in as sponsors. The top esports sponsors we usually see are Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, as well as hardware tech companies, energy drinks, betting sites, and so on.
The most recent names are the pro clubs in football, basketball, and other traditional sports, buying out esports teams to gain their fanbase as their own and provide their sponsors with even more exposure.
Why the Sudden Interest in Esports?
As we hinted above, the key to the current surge in esports advertising is the target group that competitive video gaming unlocks. The viewers of esports tournaments that can be reached by ads in the sphere are fairly young, entering their 20s and 30s. This makes us wonder, why do companies, like Mercedes, which primarily sell expensive cars usually bought by older target groups, want to gain exposure among such a young audience?
This topic has been discussed quite a lot as such decisions seem counterintuitive. The rationale behind a strategy recently answered by some key people from Mercedes is that they want to start growing their brand into the younger generation, so they know who Mercedes is when they enter the age when they are can consider buying their card some years later. So far, this strategy has been working wonders, and Mercedes' social media pages have gained quite a lot of new followers, which made them go even bigger on the advertisement in esports.
Concerning the sports teams buying out eSport teams, the reasoning behind it is the downfall of interest in the sports section, which is dropping year by year, and the generation that they are losing the most is the younger generation that would rather play video games, watch streams on Twitch/YouTube or follow the competitive scene instead of watching Football/Basketball games.
In order to not lose that generation, they decide to involve themselves in esports and try to salvage what they can and not lose the target audience completely.
A recent example is the football club PSG, which bought Chinese Dota 2 team LGD bringing a lot of an audience from new markets into their fanbase.
All Aboard the Esports Hype Train!
Every company strives to gain more customers, and they try to achieve that by increasing their exposure = spending on promotions and advertisements, the whole world is slowly shifting into a global marketplace where companies try to sell their brand into multiple continents and reach as many people as they can.
The eSport audience is growing globally, making it a very attractive place for companies to promote themselves, and invest a lot of money in hopes of getting the attention of all the young gamers following the scenes with passion.
After Mercedes, DHL, Amazon, Facebook it is expected that more big names will try to promote themselves and get a piece of the cake.