Brands Investing In eSports On Pace To Double 2016

BRANDS INVESTING IN ESPORTS ON PACE TO DOUBLE 2016

TNL Infographic 032: 2016 eSports Brand Investment (Graphic: Jordan Fragen)

TNL Infographic 032: 2016 eSports Brand Investment (Graphic: Jordan Fragen)

TNL Take: 2017 has seen an increase in eSports investment continue across the board: Pro Sports teams, Media deals, TV content and startups.

What's been the most surprising to me - in a good way - are brands continuing to investigate and increase their investment in the space with 50+ brands last year.

Through the first half of 2017, 60+ brands have jumped in and at current pace should double 2016's total.

The biggest category increases?

Auto, Alcohol and Beverage, some of the top overall brand spenders. This is fantastic to see and more news on the horizon should help spur more brands sitting on the sidelines to get in the game.

 

[Edit: This list will be formatted by category and brand shortly]

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.

eSports Week In Review | Morgan Stanley's Joke Research, 17 Teams In NBA's eLeague and TV Ratings

ESPORTS WEEK IN REVIEW | MORGAN STANLEY'S JOKE RESEARCH, 17 TEAMS IN NBA'S ELEAGUE AND TV RATINGS

Activision-Blizzard's Overwatch League (Photo: Blizzard)

Activision-Blizzard's Overwatch League (Photo: Blizzard)

TNL Take: This week saw an explosion of rumors around Activision-Blizzard's upcoming Overwatch League and we looked at Morgan Stanley's ridiculous revenue research, 11 of the 17 teams in NBA's eLeague have already made eSports investments, Brand Deals and eSports TV Ratings update.

Here's what happened:

 

MONDAY 05/08

11 of the 17 Teams In The NBA's eLeague Have Already Invested In eSports

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Take Two CEO Strauss Zelnick Announce NBA 2K eLeague (Photo: NBA/Take Two)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Take Two CEO Strauss Zelnick Announce NBA 2K eLeague (Photo: NBA/Take Two)

That's not anyone from Morgan Stanley. It's from "The Big Short" (Photo: Plan B Entertainment)

That's not anyone from Morgan Stanley. It's from "The Big Short" (Photo: Plan B Entertainment)

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 018: Burger King Spain and Playstation (Photo: Burger King)

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 018: Burger King Spain and Playstation (Photo: Burger King)

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 019: McLaren (Photo: McLaren)

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 019: McLaren (Photo: McLaren)

ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational (Photo: ELEAGUE)

ELEAGUE Street Fighter V Invitational (Photo: ELEAGUE)

TNL Infographic 036: Q2 eSports TV Ratings: Street Fighter Falls, FIFA On ESPN2 (Infographic: The Next Level)

TNL Infographic 036: Q2 eSports TV Ratings: Street Fighter Falls, FIFA On ESPN2 (Infographic: The Next Level)

NEXT WEEK ON THE NEXT LEVEL
 

  • EXCLUSIVE: THE NEXT LEVEL AND WUNDERMAN ESPORTS AND MARCH MADNESS BRAND RESEARCH STUDY
  • EXCLUSIVE: 2017 COLLEGIATE ESPORTS REPORT UPDATE: HOW MANY SCHOOLS WITH SCHOLARSHIPS NOW?
  • MORE BRANDS THAT SPONSORED EA MADDEN'S PRO TEAM CLUB SERIES
  • ESPORTS AND POLITICS

 

Have a great weekend!

eSports Week In Review | Auto Brands Race Into eSports, TNL Podcast 021

WEEK IN REVIEW | AUTO BRANDS RACE INTO ESPORTS, TNL ESPORTS PODCAST 021: BEYOND THE WHISTLE INTERVIEW

An eSports Event (Photo: alistdaily)

An eSports Event (Photo: alistdaily)

TNL Take: It was a short week on The Next Level in preparation for this week's 3 big Exclusive stories:

/01 Incredible eSports and March Madness Brand research study in conjunction with a top global Ad Agency Wunderman, part of the WPP Family

/02 An analysis of Morgan Stanley's "research" on their Year 1 revenue estimates for Activision-Blizzard's Overwatch League aka the NFL for eSports

/03 Every Brand involved with EA Madden's NFL's Club Series with Pro Teams

and maybe something even more....

 

Here's what we covered this week:

 

MONDAY 4/24

TNL ESPORTS PODCAST 021: BEYOND THE WHISTLE INTERVIEW

TNL eSports Podcast 021: Beyond The Whistle (Photo: The Next Level)

TNL eSports Podcast 021: Beyond The Whistle (Photo: The Next Level)

TNL Take: These are the best Podcast show notes I've ever seen so it's a direct copy from the McCants Sports website  run by President Odell McCant's and was a fantastic chat. Hope you enjoy it.

TNL Take: Last June, I wrote in The Next Level 012 about the lack of eSports investment from Auto Brands, considering the massive amount the category spends in overall Advertising and Sponsorship to the exact demographic that eSports reaches: Young Males.

Outside of the partnership that Turtle Wax did with OpTic Gaming - and GEICO's ownership of the Insurance space within eSports - almost no other spending had been done. 

Turtle Wax First Partnership With OpTic Gaming (Photo: Turtle Wax)

Turtle Wax First Partnership With OpTic Gaming (Photo: Turtle Wax)

Ford and Forza (Photo: Turn 10 Studios)

Ford and Forza (Photo: Turn 10 Studios)

Things are only accelerating - no pun intended - in 2017.

Audi signed a rumored $750,000 to sponsor Danish team Astralis - although that price tag is probably overestimated - it's still a big move for the Auto industry and Audi's 2nd eSports investment year-over-year.

Audi and Astralis Sponsorship (Photo: Astralis)

Audi and Astralis Sponsorship (Photo: Astralis)

In a super smart move, Audi also picked up the team in their cars on the way to the ELEAGUE Major.

Astralis Getting Picked Up In Audi's (Photo: Audi)

Astralis Getting Picked Up In Audi's (Photo: Audi)

Based on TNL's 2017 Q1 Brand Tracker report, in addition to repeat Brands like Audi and Geico, Turtle Wax re-signed their deal with OpTic Gaming  and new Brands like NAPA Auto Parts took part in the EA Madden Club Series.

TNL Infographic 032: Q1 2017 Brands and eSports (Source: The Next Level, Graphic: Jordan Fragen)

TNL Infographic 032: Q1 2017 Brands and eSports (Source: The Next Level, Graphic: Jordan Fragen)

[Ed: In an Exclusive Research study between Wunderman and The Next Level to be released shortly, there's extraordinary data that reinforces the ROI and reason that Auto Brands should invest further in eSports]

 

NEXT WEEK ON THE NEXT LEVEL
 

  • EXCLUSIVE: WUNDERMAN AND THE NEXT LEVEL ESPORTS AND MADNESS RESEARCH
  • MORGAN STANLEY'S "RESEARCH" ON THE OVERWATCH LEAGUE
  • ALL BRANDS THAT SPONSORED EA MADDEN'S CLUB SERIES
  • 2017 COLLEGIATE ESPORTS REPORT: PART 3

And more.......