As traditional sports are completely on hold for now, all eyes are on esports. Sponsors and broadcasters are looking to esports to fill the live content vacuum.
“The changing environment is turning both consumer and advertiser attention toward the video gaming content space, with esports being a major part of this”, said managing director of Nielsen Esports Nicole Pike.
More and more sports organizations are realizing the opportunity too, and organizations such as the Premier League are taking a turn into esports.
On the 21st of April the ePremier League Invitational Tournament started – a weeklong FIFA tournament aired on NBC. All matches are broadcasted and livestreamed on nbcsports.com, the Premier League’s site and social media as well as Sky Sports’ Twitch and YouTube. A number of star athletes partake including Alexander-Arnold from Liverpool and Raheem Sterling from Manchester City, and all prize money from the tournament are donated to the National Health Service.
Major League Baseball’s latest video game collaboration is a tournament of all-time greatest players called “The Dream Bracket”. An online competition made up of all 30 MLB clubs, whose 26-player rosters comprises the greatest stars in team history. The entire competition is live streamed by the title sponsor DraftKings, on MLB’s Twitch channel and social media from April 21 to May 4.
Proximus, one of the biggest broadcasters of live sports in Belgium is also dedicated to growing the esports scene in this region. As an effort to keep sports fans digitally engaged they partnered up with the Belgian Pro League and launched the Proximus Pro League e-Cup. With StriveCloud as a technology partner they created an online FIFA tournament in which fans can enrol to represent their favourite team and play against each other. Fans are invited by Proximus and the Belgian Pro League to register on the platform where they are able to compete against other players for points and prizes.
By organizing digital competitions, all football clubs in the Belgium Pro League were able to turn fans’ eyeballs back to the club and retain engagement during the coronavirus lockdown. Within the first hours of going live, the platform registered over 2,000 fan sign-ups. Moreover, the fans liked the experience so much that over 3,000 matches were played in just 2 days. One player even played 100 matches in that time which is over 12 hours daily. That is equal to watching over 3 football matches a day!