Consumer brands are advertising on Esports platforms as they look for new ways to reach younger consumers beyond social media.

WHAT HAPPENED: Brands and retailers are sponsoring top Esports players more than ever before. Esports tournaments are attended by thousands of live spectators but are also broadcast on streaming platforms such as Twitch, YouTube, ESPN, Disney XD and occasionally major networks like ABC—reaching millions of viewers around the world.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • Endorsement deals, branded merchandise and live events have helped to elevate Esports beyond the quintessential guy-in-the-basement image of gaming—and luxury brands are taking notice. Brands like Louis Vuitton are designing clothing for popular game characters and it has become commonplace for Esports leagues to secure big-name sponsors such as Coca Cola, Toyota and Bud Light. The ability to reach this critical demographic where they spend hours of their time every day is a good move for brands to nurture existing customers and to recruit new ones. If brands can build awareness and affinity while this consumer group is young, it will pay off as they get older and have more disposable income.

  • Aside from the gameplay aspect of Esports, gaming platforms have become virtual social networks. Egames host “events” like the in-game Marshmello concert last year that was virtually “attended” by roughly 11 million people simultaneously. This trend has future implications for both content consumption and advertising. If millions will attend a 10-minute concert, they would likely attend a product launch event or watch the pilot of a new show. While timing would need to be adjusted for the gamers with short-attention spans, in-game discovery is a worthwhile marketing bet for brands looking to grab the attention of this global audience.