The Esports industry has been growing exponentially in recent years. In fact, it is expected to register £1.6Bn revenue and reach over 800Mn audiences by the end of 2023.
Esports has the potential to become more popular than traditional sports. It has started to gain a lot of attraction from several football clubs because of its potential to help build, expand and grow these clubs.
With everything shifting to digital, our way to look at things, purchase things, perceive them and communicate about them has changed significantly. Sports industry is no different. It’s not just limited to going out and physically practicing it. With the emergence of esports, now there’s a way to be active digitally.
Seeing the potential of this upcoming sector, many football clubs like PSG, Manchester United, FC Barcelona, Bovista FC, AS Monaco and Scottish football champions, Celtic, have already started investing in this sector.
Here’s why investing in esports is actually a great bet for football clubs:
TO BECOME ONE OF THE PIONEERS TO INVEST IN THIS SECTOR
The global esports market size was valued at USD 1.1bn in 2019 and is expected to expand at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 24.4% from 2020 to 2025. Looking at the numbers, more and more teams are getting attracted to this sector and investing in it.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) Football Club was one of the first European clubs who invested in esports. PSG’s esports sector was founded in 2016, and at present has several players and teams that represent the club in various games at international tournaments.
When it comes to Premier League teams, Manchester City can also be counted as a pioneer in this space. They were the first top-level English team to invest in the fastest-growing esports market, that is China.
INCREASED REACH IN NEW MARKET SEGMENTS
According to an online survey, the average age of people following Premier League is 46 years, which goes further up when other football leagues are also considered.
In another research, 62% of esports viewers in USA aged between 18-34, and 56% of USA males aged between 13-21 years commented that esports is more relevant to their generation as compared to traditional sports.
The fact that the interest of the new generation is shifting from traditional sports to digital sports is a clear indication for brands to upgrade their marketing strategies which communicates well with this generation.
Since the Z generation market is also shifting towards esports, it is a good time for Sports teams to venture in the area and create a niche for themselves.
MORE SPONSORS TO INVEST IN CLUBS
Investing in esports will help clubs gain sponsorship from brands who are looking to invest specifically in this sector.
Manchester City had signed their first esports specific deal with Turtle Beach, a company that deals in gaming headsets and audio accessories.
Success stories can motivate the clubs to learn about and invest in esports. Football clubs can learn from the success story of NBA. The world’s biggest Basketball league has its own esports league, with 17 teams already affiliated with the NBA 2k League.
Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, has said in the past that he considers the NBA 2k League to be their fourth league, after NBA, WNBA, and G-League.
By considering the example of NBA, football clubs can infer that digital sport is an emerging and profitable platform which is here to stay. By diversifying their competitions, football teams can be a part of this new era and grow in it, because the sports evolution has just begun!
By Aashish Jaju