Esports Rising: Why Affiliates Should Stay Ahead of The Game (Part 1)

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Is there an opportunity for affiliates to capitalise on the esports market? That’s the question we explored in our contribution to the June/July 2019 issue of iGB Affiliate, in which we also discussed the vertical's potential in the iGaming industry, its momentum and overall marketability.

The full article, which coincided with iGB Live! earlier last week, can be found here on the publication’s online edition. We’ll be presenting the article here in two parts, with the first part available below. The second and final part can be viewed here.

When G2 Esports defeated Team Liquid in the grand final of the 2019 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational (MSI), the club emerged with more than just bragging rights. They also took home $400,000 and the opportunity to further monetise their success through limited edition MSI Champions T-shirts and other merchandise.

The glory bestowed on G2 Esports was yet another example of the emerging opportunity that esports presents to a wider community of stakeholders. iGaming affiliates and operators are among those capable of drawing points of comparison between esports and more traditional sports, such as football, basketball, hockey and NFL football.

That comparison, however, needs to be driven by an approach that is reasoned, pragmatic and inclusive. The months ahead should provide those stakeholders with some of the most valuable data on the subject to date.

The Next Big Thing

Part of the excitement surrounding esports is based on its potential as ‘the next big thing’ in the realm of international team competition. This is despite the most optimistic of projections continuing to put esports viewership well behind that of the NFL for years to come.

Fortunately, the rest of 2019 should provide prospective affiliates with some entertaining, potentially enlightening, comparisons to help evaluate the enthusiasm of one emerging product against the deep-rooted cultural significance of another. That the premise can even be entertained represents a modest win for esports.

Monitoring the progression of this narrative will help affiliates to better appreciate and understand where and how to focus on esports in both the short and long-term.

The Fortnite World Cup Finals, which will be held in Queens, New York from 25th to 28th July and the NFL preseason kickoff on 1st August, will each be worth watching for their respective data points as much as for the action itself. The Fortnite Finals are also notable for a $30m prize pool of which the champions will take home $3m.

But this comparison will never be about monetary compensation, considering the NFL has 20 players set to make over $20m this coming season. The merits of greater interest, especially where affiliates are concerned, pertain to momentum, marketability and engagement. A more qualitative comparison can be found in how each product confronts the need to acknowledge its broader audience.

Once you’ve read the second and final part of our article contribution to iGB Affiliate, where we share more insights on the esports market, please share your thoughts in the comments section.