There are more than 300 professional sports clubs with an esports section (ranging from single player to multiple teams): football, hockey, basketball, volleyball, cricket, baseball and so many other sports! We have therefore seen strong growth in recent years in the number of sports players taking a close interest in electronic sports. The idea here is not to oppose the two disciplines (and even less to revive the ancestral debate of whether esport is a sport!) but more to look at why the sports movement can take advantage of the excitement of esports.
Talking about esports, we should underline the importance of video streaming services. Platforms like YouTube gives esports enthusiasts a chance to connect with people around the world and share content they create. YouTube has the most fun and interactive environment, and that’s why the biggest gamers and influencers are mainly focusing on YouTube. Besides streaming service, YouTube has become the best place for making money with creating content and partnering with brands. If you like esports, you can earn profit by playing your favorite games, you just need to have a huge audience and engagement. To consume your time and energy in building a reputation for your YouTube channel, you can buy instant YouTube views from trusted websites.
First of all, remember that the structure of “traditional” sport is not the same as that of “electronic” sport. The first developed through a “Bottom-Up” approach (from the amateur and local level to the professional and international level), while the second was born in a “Top-Down” approach (from the professional and international level to the local and amateur level) inspired by video game publishers.
Sport benefits from a structure and governance institutions that are sometimes secular, while esport, relatively young, is still a discipline that is seeking its economic model despite the enthusiasm it arouses across the planet. However, the observation of many clubs, leagues and sports federations is often the same: audiences are stagnating or declining, attendance at sports venues is a major issue for budget balance, fans tend to age and young people are more attracted by streaming platforms, social networks, gaming, esports… and are increasingly turning away from the sporting spectacle.
FIFA has also revealed that esports have been the first source of income in 2020, bringing in 133 million euros. Enough to seriously consider the interest of esports for many sports federations who wish not only to reach a new target but also to reach a new financial windfall. Below, we offer you a quick overview of esports competitions initiated by sports leagues and federations:
Traditional sport, long insensitive to the interest of video games and esports, is therefore jumping on the bandwagon and we can thus see concrete opportunities for:
- High-level athletes: esports interest many sports celebrities who invest in startups or professional teams (from Mickael Jordan to Tony Parker via Antoine Griezmann, Ruddy Gobert, Gerard Piqué…) or see in esports a way to retrain by offering their experience to esports teams (Julien Benneteau at Gameward, Bruno Martini at Team Vitality, Vincent Clerc at MCES, etc.)
- Professional sports clubs: setting up an esports team or joining forces with an existing team (as PSG has done with LGD and Talon, LOSC with MCES, AS Roma with FNATIC, etc.) is a means of gaining visibility, attracting a new audience of gamers, developing merchandising, creating new content on social networks, pooling infrastructures (training and/or performance center) or even attracting new sponsors
- Leagues: covid and its confinements have marked the repetitive stoppage of sports competitions and therefore the loss of ticketing revenue, media rights and sometimes sponsors. Video games have resisted this crisis and the leagues have understood the interest of having new visibility via streaming platforms but also of attracting new audiences. By creating an esports league, the sports league therefore occupies the digital field. Perhaps one of the most prominent examples is that of the NBA, which created the NBA2K League with a basketball league based on the NBA2K basketball game, modeled on the NBA’s games and draft systems.
- Federations: again we find a growing interest of national and international sports federations to include in their strategies a dose of esport to differentiate themselves from other federations and to interest their young people (and by the way, why not, to seek new licensees) . In basketball, the FFBB launched the game Rocket League by organizing a competition called “HOOPS league”, the FFHB launched a competition on the game “Handball 21” involving both professional handball players and gamers, the FIA organize special events on sim racing games on the sidelines of official car competitions (Le Mans Esports Series in particular), the UCI has launched on Zwift, World Sailing on Virtual Regatta… and this non-exhaustive list should be greatly expand with the arrival of the 2024 Olympics in Paris!
As you will have noticed, the world of professional sport has rather quickly changed its tune by discovering the opportunities offered by esport: rejuvenation of communication, attraction of new sponsors, use of new digital channels (Twitch and social media such as TikTok), recruitment of new licensees, creation of new experiences are all possibilities offered!