By Barry Janoff
October 5, 2015: eSports is a growing category that seemingly continues to gain momentum, players, marketers and investments on a weekly basis.
The number of eSports enthusiasts worldwide has grown from 89.7 million in 2014 to 116 million in 2015, according to The Global Growth of eSports, a study released earlier this year (and updated in September) from gaming research, consulting and marketing firm NewZoo, San Francisco.
eSports revenues totaled $194 million in 2014 and are predicted to reach $278 million in 2015 and are estimated to grow to $765 million in 2018, according to NewZoo.
The most recent sign of the eSports times: rEvolution, a leading integrated sports marketing and media services agency based in Chicago, has acquired NEXTGEN+MVPs, an eSports sponsorship consultancy, and is launching eSports consultancy, rEvXP, "to serve brands, platforms and players in advancing their respective brand connections with fans."
"When rEvolution was founded more than 14 years ago it was because we saw a need to provide new levels of expertise to brands for better communication in sports," John Rowady, rEvolution's founder., said in a statement "Today, we see an immediate market need to translate eSports for brands. We've collaborated with the best minds in the business to put forward an expertise for brands that does not exist today."
The strategy follows other recent key milestones in the eSports category.
Last week, Turner Sports and WME | IMG formed an eSports league that will be broadcast on TBS in 2016.
DFS platforms DraftKings and Draftpot now offer eSports to their users, both tying in with League of Legends.
A League of Legends world championship is taking place throughout October, offering a top prize of $1 million. According to game developer and world championship developer Riot Games, more than 11 million viewers watched the 2014 championship "in 19 languages via 40 broadcast partners."
Skillz, a global leader in mobile eSports, recently raised $15 million in Series B funding, led by Wildcat Capital Management. Participating in the round were The Kraft Group, owners of the NFL's New England Patriots; and Marc Lasry, co-owner of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks.
rEvolution's client roster includes Chipotle, Continental Tire, Northwestern Mutual and Polaris ORV. Previous gaming experience includes work with Electronic Arts on both the EA Sports FIFA and Need for Speed franchises.
NEXTGEN+MVPs was founded by media and gaming industry veteran, Dan Ciccone, who becomes managing director of rEvXP. Among his duties, he will oversee all digital media operations and brand sponsorships opportunities.
"We have been on the ground level of eSports for years and know how to navigate and create unique opportunities," Ciccone, who has served as regional vp for Major League Gaming and as director of central region sales with IGN Entertainment. said in a statement. "Tapping into rEvolution's existing integrated service model with rEvXP is incredibly exciting, as it allows us to push the eSports industry as a whole further and faster."
Hector Rodriguez, founder and CEO for OpTic Gaming, will be responsible for creative direction, content creation and engagement programs with eSports influencers on behalf of brands, according to rEvolution.
Among other stats with which rEvolution and rEvXP come armed:
• The average eSports viewer watches more than ten times a month, at 2.2 hours per session.
• 13% of all live-stream viewers watch eSports.
• 82% of eSports attendees are male.
• 54% of eSports event attendees are also traditional sports fans.
"There's no questioning the tremendous growth potential for eSports," said Rowady. "For brands, getting involved at an impact level, instead of on the ground floor in a 'learning curve' and authentically navigating the space through rEvXP, will be revolutionary – and we're excited to help them get there."
eSports Get Big Boost From Turner, DraftKings, Investment Deals
Back to Home Page