As we navigate this new landscape of work and business post-corona, esports is one of the many industries that’s being heavily impacted.
In my opinion, this is going to be a watershed moment for esports.
Usage data on social platforms is exploding across the board – same for platforms like YouTube and Twitch. On top of that, a lot of parents are getting educated on esports during this time. As they’re sitting at home, some of them are paying attention to their 19-year-old’s favorite hobby, and some are even getting involved because they’re just getting tired. You can only watch so many movies online. You can only work so much. You can only watch the news so much.
As usage numbers grow, more and more brands are considering the option of getting involved in the world of esports and what that would take.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Authenticity is Required
When entering esports, brands need to have a strategy with Gen Z in mind. They need to understand that authenticity is required to even have a prayer. You try to come in with that corporate bullshit, you’re dead.
That means being honest, and not trying to be something you’re not because people will see through that right away. Stay in your lane, and think about how you want to communicate to the people you’re trying to reach. Respect the community that you’re trying to be a part of, and figure out how to bring actual value to the community on their terms, not yours.
Understand The Landscape Before Jumping In
Before getting involved, take some time to understand the landscape and the players involved. Understanding the difference between the platforms, mixers, YouTubers, the Twitch streamers, and others. Understand the difference between leagues – Call of Duty, Overwatch, the teams, and individual players.
It’s important to understand these pieces as you go through the process of putting together a macro strategy.
For example, are you going to play with NFL stars? NBA? Which players will you align yourself with? That’s a huge part of thinking about what your strategy will be.
In the macro, I believe that all leagues and teams are in a great position to win in the Long term. In the micro, it’s about the economics. Currently, football is in a better position because they haven’t gotten to the point of losing their season. However, the NBA has such an amazing commissioner that he may innovate on a new format for games and tournaments that we all become captivated with. This is the time for innovation, and Adam Silver has proven to be a huge innovator, so I’m excited to see what happens on that front.
Identify Underpriced Attention
The last thing is to identify where the underpriced attention is.
There are different channels you can leverage as you enter a new space to build awareness around your brand. You’ve got to look at where attention sits, and the landscape of opportunities on those channels.
When you think about the biggest social platforms today – Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, etc – there are a lot of different pages and players that own the attention on those platforms. There are meme pages, blogs, vlogs, Instagram accounts, and more. For example, a superstar amateur player with 57,000 followers might be thrilled to get a $500 brand deal sponsorship. You could also consider content producers that produce vlogs or shows in the space.
I genuinely believe that too many people are wildly underestimating where esports is going and how big it’s really going to be. We’re already seeing explosive growth happen.
I want to remind everybody who’s reading this that football and basketball were amateur sports before they became professional sports too.