Professional esports is expected to see continued revenue growth and investment, driven by a range of factors that have pushed the industry further into the mainstream, according to a new survey conducted by law firm Foley & Lardner LLP and The Esports Observer. But industry participants are also eyeing an array of concerns as they focus on protecting and legitimizing their brands at this critical juncture in the esports industry’s development.
As esports continues to break further into the mainstream, Foley & Lardner LLP and The Esports Observer surveyed more than 120 professionals to analyze the most pressing business and legal issues.
The survey revealed expectations of continued revenue growth and investment in esports, driven by a range of factors, including the growing involvement of traditional professional sports teams, leagues and figures; the rise of streaming deals involving major technology companies and TV networks; and the broadening of advertising and sponsorships. Industry participants also expressed concerns about a variety of risks to the maturing industry, including match fixing, cybersecurity and malware attacks, and intellectual property rights and licensing issues.
Investment in esports franchises has been the flavor of the fall season. From Cloud9 to 100 Thieves, a plethora of teams have raised funds from high-profile investors, and Team Vitality is just the latest organizations to receive a significant investment.
But it’s not necessarily the €20M ($22.7M USD) investment itself that has Vitality well-positioned. According to Team Vitality CEO Nicolas Maurer, it’s the investor: Tej Kohli.
While Kohli’s deep pockets make the Indian technology entrepreneur a suitable investor that can support Team Vitality’s long-term plans, Maurer believes Kohli’s knowledge of the technology sector and startups can be leveraged to foster a successful relationship….
Audi has signed a three-year sponsorship deal with German FIFA team Fokus Clan.
The brand has also partnered with 2. Bundesliga club FC Ingolstadt 04’s esports team.
The new esports deals come following the Audi logo’s removal from Astralis jerseys.
German automaker Audi has added a pair of soccer esports franchises to its portfolio of endorsement deals with FIFA squad Fokus Clan and 2. Bundesliga club FC Ingolstadt 04’s esports team.
As a part of a three-year deal with Fokus Clan, the Stark eSports-managed team will be provided a specially branded Audi Q7 e-tron car decked out with a PlayStation 4 for the next six months to promote the new partnership with a series of planned activities. Additionally, Audi’s logo will be displayed on team apparel and its social media. Audi joins Fokus Clan as the team’s second sponsor, following German potato and kettle chip company funny-frisch….
More and more major global brands want to enter the esports space via advertising and sponsorships, but according to Mike Sepso, many of them just don’t know where to start. Esports is an unfamiliar space for many non-endemic brands, and they don’t want to make bad investments or produce inauthentic campaigns that are poorly received by fans.
Sepso has extensive experience in this space. He co-founded Major League Gaming (MLG) in 2002 and helped guide it into a competitive gaming leader before joining Activision Blizzard in 2015, where he helped build the global partnerships team for the Overwatch League (OWL) as a senior vice president. Since leaving in August, he has joined OWL team New York Excelsior as a strategic partner…
The passion that Brazil is renowned for in the sporting world is clearly visible in its thriving esports scene. It boasts a huge esports audience, with fans known for their dedication to their games and teams. In fact, Brazil has the third-most Esports Enthusiasts in the world with 7.6 million Brazilians watching professional content more than once per month.
On top of that, Brazil has given rise to many globally successful teams and strong local influencers. Many top-tier international teams have highly skilled Brazilian players in their roster, especially in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Local heroes such as Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo have hundreds of thousands of followers on social media and Brazilian broadcasters are racking up millions of viewing hours on Twitch…
AN OVERVIEW OF ESPORTS IN EUROPE
FEATURING AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT FOUR OF EUROPE’S MOST VIBRANT ESPORTS ECOSYSTEMS
Esports is entering a new phase toward becoming a mature market. The coming two years will be crucial in how fast it grows into a multi-billion-dollar business. The key determining factors are the success of local leagues and the franchising approach, the implementation of regulations, the arrival of new game formats and competition, the uptake of content rights sales, team profitability, and the impact of industry convergence involving traditional media, entertainment, telecom, and sports companies. Depending on how these factors play out in the coming year or two, esports’ growth could accelerate and reach $2.4 billion in 2020 in an optimistic scenario, almost $1 billion higher than the base scenario of $1.5 billion…
The global sports media rights business is valued at more than $40 billion this year, representing 25% of professional sports revenues. Esports, consisting of more than a thousand individual leagues, events, and championships, is expected to generate close to $100 million in media rights deals this year and $400 million in 2021. The share of esports revenues related to the trade in content rights will grow from 18% this year to 24% in 2021, making it the fastest-growing revenue stream in the esports ecosystem.
One of the youngest sports leagues to gain mainstream acceptance, the UFC, shares some historical similarities with esports and could point us to the future of esports media rights and content distribution…
THE CROSSOVER: WHAT TRADITIONAL SPORTS CAN BRING TO ESPORTS
Professional football, soccer, baseball and motor racing have endless decades worth of experience in professionalising, commercialising and monetising sporting activities.
In fact, professional-services powerhouse KPMG estimates that the business of traditional sports, including commercial and amateur events, related media as well as education, academic, grassroots and other ancillary activities, is a US$700bn international juggernaut.
Furthermore, the potential crossover with esports makes sense…
In a massive announcement, Epic Games has unveiled a partnership with the National Football League (NFL).
“We’re excited to announce that Fortnite and the NFL are teaming up for the ultimate football face-off. Starting November 9 at 7PM ET you’ll be able to purchase NFL themed Outfits from the Fortnite Item Shop,” the announcement reads on epicgames.com.
Fortnite has made giant strides in moving gaming to mainstream and this is just another step in the right direction for those who desire this…
The groups and schedule have been revealed for the Esports Championship Series Finals taking place in Arlington, Texas. The event will be hosted in the Esports Stadium and will feature the top four teams from the North American division alongside the top four from the European division competing for the lion’s share of the $660,000 prize pool, a $250,000 first place prize. The groups were based on the standings at the end of the season as their method of seeding…
Esports has become a global phenomenon and with this success comes a rapidly growing audience and industry.
The numbers tell the story:
2018 Esports Investments are already exceeding $4.17B in disclosed funding.
Franchised Leagues such as the Overwatch League are asking for reported fees up to $35M per team.
Projected revenue for the 2018 global esports market is $906M.