TNL Take: In this edition of "5 Questions With", we speak with Wouter Sleijffers, CEO of Fnatic who joined in 2015 and is taking the brand and organisation to the next level with his vast leadership and marketing experience. Wouter is also an advisor to Esports BAR, the leading B2B event for esports.
Fnatic has multiple brand partners from Monster to AMD however one is particularly interesting, Deezer. How did this partnership come about and where do you see music and esports overlapping?
The partnership with Deezer originated through an introduction by the Lagardere team. From there on, we started a conversation about our respective passion for esports and music and it immediately clicked.
Aside from the obvious global widespread consumption of both music and gaming / esports content by our largely shared audience, you can see how there are many parallels between music and esports. The digital aspect of our arts, the variety of genres and particularities of the fans, the digital distribution, etc.
Fnatic went the route of becoming a hardware manufacturer by selling branded Headsets, keyboards, etc via Fnatic Gear. vs. partnering with another company. Why did Fnatic make this decision and any info you can share on the growth?
The decision derives from our mission to "lead the new world sport into every houselhold through experiences, content and products". With our 13 years of esports know how at the highest levels, no one else knows better than us what real esports equipment requires.
To enjoy your game, to improve your game and beat competition on the so critical margins. Aside from that it, creates opportunities for us and our partners to really engage with our audience. Creating our own products is one way for us to define our brand and define what esports is really about. From a business perspective it simply creates a complete new growth opportunity in the booming esports industry.
Fnatic is currently involved in mobile game Vainglory. With Clash Royale and the launch of Arena of Valor (Honour of Kings in China) in the EU and US, do you see 2018 for mobile esports to take off?
Yes we see great potential in mobile esports and we took our first steps with Vainglory 8. Clash Royale and Arena of Valor, those are games that have a massive player base and have already proven to be able to attract a large and engaged audience.
Let's see if 2018 is really the year of mobile esports, but no doubt in the next 2 to 3 years it'll be considered as the 3rd platform where esports is taking place -next to PC and console.
You also have a partnership with Gamerz, an esports show where fans compete to win an opportunity to be a part of Fnatic. Fnatic produces a ton of internal content (YouTube/Twitch) and now branching further out. How important is the need for esports shoulder content?
Content is critical for the growth of esports. There's a high demand by the core fans, but it also introduces new audiences into the professional world of esports. Still many are not familiar what esports really entails and telling the stories of the players, the fans, the emotions, etc is a way to let the audience really enjoy and appreciate esports.
Finally, some esports prediction for 2018 - where do you see the space heading?
I'll give you two predictions.
First, 2018 will be the year of esports leagues and associations. So 2018 will see reaping the first rewards of the leagues structures that are taking place in form of multi-million global sponsorships and further significant broadcasting and licensing deals. It will snowball from there.
Second, Fnatic will regain its crown as LCS World Champions!
Sponsored article by Esports BAR Cannes, the leading B2B esports event.
Special rates are granted to all The Next Level readers: Use code ESBTNL and grab your Delegate Package at €200 off the normal price. Register at www.the-esports-bar.com