There are two ways of talking about eSports.
The self-complacent way, which we can perceive in consultancy reports, LOL documentary films, and events of 50.000 people. Or self-criticism, which we perceive day by day in a market full of shortcomings in the attempt at becoming professional.
There are two ways of obtaining income: gamers payments, or brand sponsoring.
The first model belongs almost exclusively to producers (such as EA Sports) and distributors (such as PlayStation Store). The second model is what most of the market pursues. And this is where things get complicated.
The game designer and the distributor who sells it, are logically, the kings of the market. From there on, emerges an industry of firms that create competitions (ELS, Movistar, LVP, Orange, PlayStation League) that create events (Gamergy, Barcelona Games World) that create teams (Giants, Vodafone), that create media (Marca, eSports) and that create contents (House of Brands).
But why are there so few brands?
Quantity vs Quality
On one hand it is a question of volume. In spite of the numbers reflected in certain reports, one must not bloat the size of the market. Gamers, there are a lot of. We are all Gamers. But Gamers that compete in eSports…reduces the market to a niche. Therefore, one does not approach this industry for the size of it. One enters for the quality of the users, very loyal and prone to a certain lifestyle.
There is a first target: to increase this market volume. If this cannot be done by generating more eSports competitors, this must be achieved by creating audiences that consume its contents. This is what all sports industries do: they do not generate more professional players, they generate audience.
But what does the audience want to watch?
Gamer vs Spectatorr
The flaw of eSports contents is that they are aimed at the eSport gamer. It´s as if the TV program “El Chiringuito” was aimed only towards professionals, with debates on how to loosen up calves. Lobato turned us into in Formula 1 specialists with the contents prior to the race broadcasting.
The sports industry creates contents for all publics, not only professionals. And in this case even more so because a gamer wants to play, he wants an active experience. A spectator seeks to be entertained, but through a passive experience. Gamers prefer to hold the reins. Spectators prefer to watch Messi in flesh and blood rather than the FIFA one.
Therefore, to gain television audience, a contents industry must be created around it. News, education and eSports entertainment contents. Broadcasting matches is not enough, that does not create audience. What is required is reporting, documentaries and recurrent programs with no technical language, to launch the product beyond gamers.
You don´t have to breed horses to enjoy a horse race.
Media hooks are also necessary. Real Madrid or Barcelona, Fernando Alonso or PlayStation to act as reference marks in order to attract attention. To widen distribution and to capture a niche in all types of media.
Once producing audiences has been achieved, then it is time to talk about important sponsorships. Sponsorships that finance teams, that enable their structures to become professional, that permit Gamers to support themselves solely on their activity. To build a services industry around it. And once the industry is created, we will have celebrities, expectation, and finally, audience.
This road leads from the Gamer to the creation of valuable contents, that hook an audience interesting enough for brands, and by these means obtaining income that enable financing structures. A long road. There is still a lot of work ahead, many crazy things to try, a long way to innovate.
All we need are brands to impulse a rising market.
Shall we talk?