The rise of Esports and what it means for marketers

An earlier version of this blog post published in theDose powered by DigitasLBi.

At CES 2017, tech companies and marketers alike were focused on the next big opportunity.

But one new trend has already proven worthy of their attention. In a very short time, the Esports space has expanded from niche fandom to a global phenomenon. Audiences are growing exponentially as fans tune in to watch their favorite teams play live, and these crowds live online.

While Esports may still feel like a new category, savvy marketers are finding creative ways to engage this passionate audience at scale. As you plan for the year ahead, here’s what you need to know about the rise of Esports:

Esports fans aren’t who you might expect

The Esports audience is more complex than you think.

It’s a massive community, and Mindshare NA’s research shows that while over half of fans are millennials, 60 percent of Esports fans are between the ages of 25-39, many are parents, and 38 percent of fans are women.

This diverse fan base means that brands can reach a wide variety of consumers around content experiences that they love.

Fans watch the action live

We know that Esports fans are extremely committed to their teams, but what’s truly unique about them is their interest in watching the action live, from all around the world.

We’ve found that people are more emotionally engaged with live video because it’s content that they actually want to see.

The power of live video, combined with a dedicated Esports fan base, represents a huge opportunity for brands to implement creative and relevant storytelling as part of their marketing strategies.

They demand creativity

These fans are extremely passionate, and that’s part of the draw for marketers.

Keep in mind that Esports fans gather to not only watch professional gamers go head to head, but also learn and debate the latest strategies. This audience has very high expectations both for the user experience and brand integrations.

Brands must think creatively about the message they share and how it’s delivered in order to set their campaigns up for success. To be most effective, marketers can capitalize on custom branded segments and native ads as part of their strategies.

Keep an eye on the rise of Esports

For marketers, Esports is the next frontier to capitalize on live video experiences and create truly authentic and engaging experiences with a new community of consumers.

Ultimately, this means that brands have a chance to introduce more creative experiences that align with the gaming content and coverage these fans so passionately rally behind. Game on.