eSports Week In Review | Facebook Expands Even Further, Team Brand Deals and ELEAGUE's Record Ratings

ESPORTS WEEK IN REVIEW | FACEBOOK EXPANDS EVEN FURTHER INTO ESPORTS, TEAM BRAND DEALS AND ELEAGUE'S RECORD RATINGS

Vitality Rockyy Wins 2017 FIFA Ultimate Team Championship (Photo: EA Sports)

Vitality Rockyy Wins 2017 FIFA Ultimate Team Championship (Photo: EA Sports)

TNL Take: This week The Next Level looked at Facebook's continued expansion into eSports with their most recent ESL partnership, 2 team Sponsorships with Pepsi and Casper and record ELEAGUE TV ratings for Street Fighter as well as the FIFA Championship on ESPN 2.

Here's what happened:
 

MONDAY 05/22


FACEBOOK EXPANDS EVEN FURTHER INTO ESPORTS

Facebook Expands Further Into eSports with ESL Deal (Photo: Facebook)

Facebook Expands Further Into eSports with ESL Deal (Photo: Facebook)

 

WEDNESDAY 05/24


ESPORTS TEAM SPONSORSHIPS: PEPSI AND CASPER


TNL ESPORTS BRAND TRACKER 021: CASPER AND FNATIC

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 021: Casper and Fnatic (Photo: The Drum)

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 021: Casper and Fnatic (Photo: The Drum)

TNL Infographic 040: 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 040: 2017 eSports TV Ratings (Infographic: The Next Level)

 

NEXT WEEK ON THE NEXT LEVEL
 

  • EXCLUSIVE: 2017 COLLEGIATE ESPORTS REPORT UPDATE: 30+ SCHOOLS AND A LOT MORE IN SCHOLARSHIP MONEY
  • TNL ESPORTS GUEST PODCAST 005 RECORDING: ESL US PRESIDENT, CRAIG LEVINE
  • MORE BRANDS THAT SPONSORED EA MADDEN'S CLUB SERIES
  • AND MORE....

Facebook Expands Even Further Into eSports

FACEBOOK EXPANDS EVEN FURTHER INTO ESPORTS

Facebook Pushers Further Into eSports (Photo: Facebook)

Facebook Pushers Further Into eSports (Photo: Facebook)

TNL Take: In June of 2016, I wrote in The Next Level 010 about "The War On Twitch" that the biggest threat to the live streaming service was Facebook's entrance with their new partnership to offer 1-click streaming of all Blizzard's PC games directly to Zuck's massive platform:

From The Next Level 010, June 14, 2016 (Photo: The Next Level)

From The Next Level 010, June 14, 2016 (Photo: The Next Level)

Facebook then obtained the exclusive rights to Blizzard's "Heroes Of The Dorm", previously held by ESPN, and here's what else they've added to their eSports content:

 

JANUARY: EUROPE'S POWERHOUSE G2 ESPORTS

Top European team G2 eSports - who is at 4:30PM on Sunday currently tied with the world's best League of Legends team at the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational [Edit: They lost]  -  announced they will start streaming non-exclusively on Facebook beginning in February.  

G2 content will include gameplay broadcasts across multiple titles, behind-the-scenes footage from events and VOD content.

 

APRIL: 76ER'S OWNED TEAM DIGNITAS

Philadelphia 76'ers Owned Team Dignitas (Photo: Team Dignitas)

Philadelphia 76'ers Owned Team Dignitas (Photo: Team Dignitas)

Philadelphia 76ers owned Team Dignitas signed a partnership to live stream on Facebook - although non-exclusive as well and they will continue to also stream on Twitch. 

Content will include team practices, fan interaction and a peek into their daily lives.

Team Dignitas fields 6 teams and currently has about ~800,000 total Fans and Followers on Facebook.

Team Dignitas Fans and Followers (Photo: Facebook)

Team Dignitas Fans and Followers (Photo: Facebook)

 

MAY: ESL EVENTS AND EXCLUSIVE CONTENT

ESL and Facebook Streaming Partnership (Photo: Univision Deportes)

ESL and Facebook Streaming Partnership (Photo: Univision Deportes)

This is the biggest deal to date since the initial Blizzard announcement last year.

ESL announced on Friday a massive streaming partnership with Facebook that includes:

  • 5,500 total hours of content in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish and German
  • 1,500 of which will be Exclusive to Facebook
  • Content includes: Counter-Strike competitions from ESEA (ESL’s subscription-based platform for amateur, semi-pro, and pro's), an exclusive 30min Counter-Strike show as well as their events like ESL One and Intel Extreme Masters 

Now if ESL's deal sounds kind of familiar...it is.

In March, ESL signed a deal with Twitter to also broadcast ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters along with Dreamhack; as well as an exclusive 30min "eSports Sportscenter" show.

That also shouldn't be a surprise as Dreamhack parent company - MTG (Media Times Group) - also owns a 74% stake in ESL.

 

WHATS NEXT?

As Facebook is just entering these waters, there are numerous ways they could eventually take the lead:

/01 SCALE: Facebook should hit 2 Billion users by the end of Q2 this year. Over half of those users are daily. Which also leads to...

/02 MOBILE: 85% of Facebook's revenues comes from Mobile. As the rest of the world comes online, this is how they're going to access content - not via a PC or console. Facebook stopped reporting Mobile only user numbers but I'd guess it's ~1/3 of their total users.

/03 MONETIZATION: Ads, Donations, Subscriptions, Virtual Currency, Sponsorships, Influencer Campaigns - the list goes on

/04 VR: As VR eventually gathers more audience and others are trying to build VR platforms on top of Twitch or create separate ones, Facebook already has the hardware end with Oculus. From both playing and viewing, the experience potential is endless.

 

This battle is far from over and will be interesting to see how other platforms react in addition to the massive Chinese market. Grab the popcorn.

eSports Week In Review | Wunderman Brand Study, TV Ratings and Pro Sports Investment Rolls

ESPORTS WEEK IN REVIEW | WUNDERMAN BRAND STUDY, TV RATINGS AND PRO SPORTS INVESTMENT ROLLS

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NEXT WEEK ON THE NEXT LEVEL
 

  • EXCLUSIVE: 2017 COLLEGIATE ESPORTS REPORT UPDATE: 30 SCHOOLS, $3M IN SCHOLARSHIPS?
  • FACEBOOK EXPANDS FURTHER INTO ESPORTS
  • FINAL BRANDS THAT SPONSORED EA MADDEN'S CLUB SERIES
  • RECORDING TNL ESPORTS GUEST PODCAST WITH FRENCH SOCCER TEAM PSG ESPORTS HEAD YELLOWSTAR
  • MORE BRAND DEALS

 

Have a great weekend!

Exclusive: TNL and Wunderman eSports and March Madness Brand Study

TNL AND WUNDERMAN ESPORTS AND MARCH MADNESS BRAND STUDY

2017 NCAA Champions UNC Tar Heels (Photo: Bob Donnon)

2017 NCAA Champions UNC Tar Heels (Photo: Bob Donnon)

TNL Take: Last year, Wunderman analyzed the March Madness fan during the tournament and what Brands they engaged with and purchased

With the explosion of eSports investment from Pro Sports teams, dozens of colleges providing scholarships and 30+ Brands investing in Q1 2017 alone; what does the eSports fan look like, what does the combined March Madness and eSports fan look like and how can Brands take advantage of this unique marketing opportunity?

The Next Level and Wunderman partnered on the first research study to find out who exactly was this March Madness and eSports audience, the overlap of this audience and how Brands could best benefit from investing in both the NCAA Tournament and eSports content.

The research study combined Wunderman’s audience research data, along with what these audiences were talking about on Social platforms and layered on top of their purchase behavior.

Here’s what we found:

/01 IT’S NOT JUST YOUNG MALES BUT YOUNG FAMILIES ALSO

The 2016 study showed that the average March Madness fan is primarily a 35-39 year old male, married with children and an income between $75K-$100K

The current study showed that the combined March Madness and eSports audience was even younger, had a higher annual income, but the most unique data point was that it wasn’t just the expected young males -  but young families as well.     

Young Families had a 201 index and having 3+ children in the Household also over indexed at 172.

Looking at the combined audience’s top 5 Brands buying preferences – Matchbox, Jiffy, Kodak, Dirt Devil and Magic Chef - essentially family based products, supports using both March Madness and eSports combined to reach this audience.

 

/02 THE ESPORTS AUDIENCE LIKES ALCOHOL

As the average eSports fan is typically a young male between 18-34, not surprisingly, Alcohol greatly over indexes for this category.

The eSports Audience is 3x more likely to purchase Jack Daniels (174 Index) vs. just the March Madness Audience (60 Index).

Budweiser is twice as likely to be bought by the eSports audience (123 Index) than the March Madness audience (63 Index), however by advertising to both audiences at the same time, it would increase Budweiser’s overall purchase intent by 12%.

“The brands that have bought into eSports are amazed not only at the ROI but that it's with the audience that’s just not consuming media in the ‘traditional’ manner.  What was amazing about the research was that when you combine eSports with your March Madness investment, not only do you get the eSports audience, but it actually influences overall purchase intent when combined with the March Madness fan” - Manny Anekal

 

/03 AUTO BRANDS GREATLY BENEFIT FROM ESPORTS

According to Kantar Media, in 2016 the Auto Industry spent over $250M on March Madness representing the top Brand category with 18% of total Ad spend.

Auto Brands have finally realized the value of the eSports audience and the past year has seen deals with Audi and Subaru and a renewal between Turtle Wax and top team OpTic Gaming. Now car companies can use eSports to leverage their NCAA sponsorship and media investment.

Mini Cooper has double the purchase intent (260 Index) for the eSports audience vs. the March Madness audience alone (119 Index); however by including an eSports buy during the same time, Mini Cooper increases it’s overall purchase intent for the combined audience by 38%.

Buick, which is one of the biggest Auto ad spenders during March Madness, would increase reaching previous Buick buyers by 26% by also including eSports during tournament time.

“eSports is unique in that it offers brands an opportunity to connect with an increasingly hard-to-reach audience. When done right, the paybacks can be enormous but the trick is relevance. This is a community of very savvy gamers and they don’t want any distractions. The brands who succeed are those that truly understand this audience, how to reach them and can prove their commitment to the community.” - Jamie Gutfreund, Global CMO, Wunderman

 

TL/DR: Leverage eSports to augment your March Madness spend, target your exact audience, increase overall purchase intent, and greater ROI per overall investment compared with TV alone.