It’s Monday 8 am as I’m writing this post. This morning finds me in a favourite coffee shop of mine, not far from Trafalgar Square. Considering I’m off work today you might wonder what I am doing here so early (I know I am) or maybe you don’t care at all. Either way I will tell you. After a night of limited rest, instead of trying to fall asleep again I decided to come here and do some research on a topic that has interested me greatly the last few weeks. The subject in question is Esport – the Esport fan base to be precise.
Professional gaming has had my interest for a long time. However, my curiosity for the identity of it’s audience specifically was sparked when I came across some fascinating statistics. Did you know that in the year of 2013 – 32 million viewers tuned in to watch the League of Legends Season 3 World Championship whilst only 15.7 million watched the NCAA Basketball finals? Last year, according to LoL Esports, “peak concurrent viewership” (PCU – the highest number of fans tuned in at any one point) for League of Legend Worlds was 14 million. LoL Esports also claim that the overall unique viewer count for the Finals 2015 was 36 million.
Why do these numbers excite me so much, you might wonder. Because Esport is still at it’s infancy. I can’t help but wonder about the potential of the industry and the effect it might come to have on the world of sports as we know it. What is clear is the considerable marketing opportunity this new industry provides. Esports have an audience of incredibly engaged fans who have proven challenging to reach through traditional media channels. Advertising through Esports is also done at a low cost in comparison to other marketing channels. This is because professional gaming is still a relatively new market to invest in. Though marketing strategies might not be as interesting to the average GD-reader as it is to me, I implore you to indulge me, just this once. I’ll even tell you why I find it is so deeply interesting, if you didn’t already close the page at the first sight of the words “marketing strategies”. Because if we start looking at the Esport scene from a marketing perspective, we need to ask ourselves: Who are these 36 million people tuning into the League of Legends Worlds last year? And all of a sudden it becomes relevant to you and I as well. Marketing teams need to know the identity of the audience because it’s important in order to get the most out of their money. You and I want to explore it because we are tired of the same drawn out stereotype defining a gamer in today’s society. So let’s do a bit of research and find out more about the Esport audience.