Esports events are more than a marketing activity; they are full blown spectacles. In this space, an event is more than an occasion for people to come together. In the esports space, an event is an opportunity to connect brands, partners, sponsors, active participants, and casual viewers (online and onsite). Generally, event sponsors are looking for a 5-10x return on investment. Until recently, many esport events have been at pop-up locations or in esport complexes that have limited attendee capacity. These venues also limit the perceived ROI on a sponsorship opportunity. To compound the challenge, esports teams and leagues were very protective of their landscape and tried to avoid “clutter” from corporate advertisements and content that was inconsistent with their persona. They don’t want to be seen as sell-outs. So how do you effectively harness the power of today’s events to allow a Sponsor to maximize their ROI? You must leverage a wide range of channels to the onsite and online audience. A pre-event plan should include a tech plan that designs moments of engagement.
Recent esport sponsorships have come from mainstream brands like Toyota and Dr. Pepper. Annual league sponsorships are commanding between $400-$700k, and Overwatch League sponsorships are said to go for seven-figures. These sponsors are banking on immediate access to a male, millennial audience to develop long-term relationships, They also hope this will lead to an ability to data-mine viewership (aka casual viewers) for refined, targeted campaigns. To date, long-term entwined (on and offline) relationships, such as those built in traditional sports franchises, have been challenging to create in esports.
Esporting is generally suffering from a lack of fully developed sponsorship assets, and except for the Overwatch League which is said to be constructing digital stadiums, this will remain the case. To fully leverage Sponsorship and audience engagement opportunities, event planners must design on-sight and online moments of engagement into their event plan. Technology-driven audio and visual tools available today make this more achievable than ever. Cloud-based apps, blue tooth technology, along with interactive hardware can create a highly interactive digital stadium with brandable moments that are integrated into the experience
As mentioned above, the key to maximizing ROI for an event and the event sponsors, is to create meaningful moments of engagement. Moments can be customized for an event and a specific sponsor by integrating hardware dynamic audio systems, projection mapping, drones, hologram projections, digital signage with social and streaming platforms. Combined with the right audio and visual infrastructure, branding and lead generation campaigns can be designed that are geo-targeted, demo-targeted and have interactive incentives.
Hardware and technical designers, such as Arena powered by Dyventive, have a rich history in delivering onsite and online events for corporate and industrial clients. As they grow in the esports industry, they find that providing a one-stop shop for tech planning, state of the art gear and expert onsite technical teams is valuable to esports event planners. The creative team at Arena can design and deliver a custom, modular event to fit any space. When brought into the project in the planning space, designers can customize the equipment and networked infrastructure to not only support the processing capacity and streaming requirements for competition, but also to create the onsite and online participant engagements that sponsors are genuinely looking to achieve.
Some believe that in the esport sponsorship industry, it is a buyers’ market. There are a few who are investing early to build relationships and leverage learning; however, many sponsors are not willing to invest in sponsorships that have so few meaningful ROI metrics. With the entrance of experienced vendors, such as Arena, the industry will be able to create cost-effective geographic activations to engage casual audiences, customize brandable assets at different investment levels, create authentic social media engagement to build relationships and identify micro-influencers. Having a planning partner that can provide a one-stop shop for all of the equipment and network infrastructure needs will quickly enable sponsors to measure the value and advantage of esport sponsorships because it will unlock the potential for experiences that resonate with people in highly inclusive and nuanced ways.
For more information, click here to contact the technology professionals from Arena.