Esports Central – Sponsors in SA esports: A question of value

31 May 2018

Internationally, the world’s biggest brands are investing in esports. Locally, we’ve seen huge brand names like Samsung and Red Bull spending their marketing money on esports events. Can potential sponsors gain value from involvement in the South African scene?

Magic beans

Esports is seen as a growth industry worldwide, with many industry market reports pointing to record growth in 2018. Newzoo’s somewhat optimistic numbers put the global esports economy at $905.6 Million for the year. This represents growth of 38% over 2017. The one thing that is clear is that the esports industry is registering growth the likes of which physical sports have not seen in decades. That makes esports inherently attractive to brands that haven’t traditionally invested in it. ASUS or Hyper X would be examples of endemic sponsors within esports, while Mountain Dew and Audi are examples of non-endemic sponsors.

 

For many consumer brands, esports is that mythical bag of magic beans that Jack uses to grow a giant beanstalk in the fairy tale. Whether there’s a metaphorical murderous giant waiting at the top or immeasurable wealth remains to be seen in the case of esports. The prospect of where this is all leading and the potential profits that could be gained by getting involved are what gets potential sponsors salivating. Even traditional sports franchises are getting in on the act, snapping up esports teams with regularity.

 

Examples like the Philadelphia 76ers acquisition of Team Dignitas, F.C. Copenhagen’s establishment of North CS:GO, and Paris Saint Germain’s partnership with LGD Dota all point to one thing. Esports is where large corporations and sporting conglomerates see massive potential. So many have invested that I could spend an entire article just outlining those strategic partnerships and purchases.

Sponsors, hello?

There’s been much said about the low viewership numbers many of South Africa’s premier tournaments tend to yield. Viewers merely in the hundreds are surely not what sponsors are looking for, most sane people would argue. Would a few thousand perhaps satiate a large company’s desire for marketing reach? I’m not so sure that it necessarily would. As a layman’s metric for how well a tournament is doing, viewership is a useful measure.

Read the full article here.

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