eSports are taking over. A few years ago, could you imagine that MTV would launch a reality program based around players of the online game League of Legends? Well they have in Spain, and it doesn’t stop there. Earlier this year, the French government enacted policy to recognize and regulate eSports as an industry, smoothing over visa requirements, and making it simpler than ever for tournaments to be held in that country, while simultaneously paving the way for the creation of French esport federations.
Like any other industry in the heat of growth, peripheral businesses are rising up to enhance, support, and enrich eSports as a content genre. For instance, Yahoo has recently launched Yahoo eSports in an attempt to compete with other big names entering the market:Twitch, Facebook and ESPN.
ESPN in particular is taking the eSports bull by the horns in a big way. In the spirit of Stephen Colbert, ESPN has placed Twitch “On Notice” and is looking to divert audiences away from Amazon’s livestreaming platform in favor of their WatchESPN brand. This isn’t a casual effort either, although Activision Blizzard, purchased Major League Gaming hoping to become the “ESPN of esports”, they clearly forgot about another key player – ESPN.
There are rumors of a $500 million deal between ESPN and Riot Games “regarding the broadcasting of Riot’s League of Legends Championship Series. Although face value leads speculators to think of over-air broadcasting, what of the streaming rights? As eSports Observer…observes, “ESPN’s digital broadcast platform, WatchESPN, has been used by eSports before, notably for Blizzard’s Heroes of the Dorm tournament. So, would this [deal] include the exclusive move of [the Championship series] broadcast from Twitch to WarchESPN?”
As reported on siliconangle.com:
ESPN Inc [launched in January] its own dedicated eSports news hub called ESPN Esports. The new vertical will be headed by editor Darin Kwilinski, who previously served as managing director for dedicated eSports streaming site Azubu. Joining him will be writers Rod “Slasher” Breslau, who has covered eSports for several publications and once served as head of social media for MLG, and Tyler Erzberger, who previously wrote for the Team Liquid website.
ESPN is making huge investments into this industry and seeking huge rewards, but mainstream networks aren’t the only one’s dumping money into eSports. There are big names such as Arby’s, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Buffalo Wild Wings that are investing millions of dollars in the form of advertising.
In 2015, 115 million people watched eSports at least once a month. By 2019, some projections have that number growing by another 100 million people. Said Buffalo Wild Wing’s head of marketing to The Wall Street Journal, “we would be foolish to turn a deaf ear to the size of the audience”, and we couldn’t agree more.
So how can eSports content providers best serve their audience, thereby attracting advertisers and maximizing their return on investment? They can do this by ensuring a superior quality of experience, or QoE, for their end users.
With the use of innovative technologies like YOUBORA by NPAW, content providers – be it those with streaming rights for competitions, or organizations generating peripheral content – can provide their audience members with the highest QoE possible. Our suite’s real time analytics lead the industry in accuracy, flexibility, and capability.
You owe your audience an experience equivalent to the one they would receive from conventional television. eSport, physical sport, SportCenter, eSportcenter, if your audience seeks it, you can deliver it on a “silver platter” – and we want to help you do it.
Just another thing to think about from us here at NPAW.
James Noeker on June 09th 2016
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