Brands activating for an esports crowd take note: competitive players—and the fans who adore them—are no longer relegated to the age-old stereotype. You know, the one in which a lone player holes up in his basement for hours on end, hopped up on caffeine, speaking to no one. Esports fans have diversified beyond this cliché, and it follows that the experiences they engage with should, too.
According to Ryan Fitzpatrick, svp of NCompass International, an advisory board member for the Esports Business Summit taking place in Las Vegas this September, there is ample opportunity for brands to engage not only multiple audiences at esports events—from the core fans to the casual—but in ways that may differ from traditional sporting events. There’s plenty of room for brands to plant a flag in the industry, particularly in auto and financial services categories. Here is Fitzpatrick on what he envisions to be the greatest opportunities for brands.
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Event Marketer: Discuss the role that you play in the esports ecosystem right now.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, svp at
Ryan Fitzpatrick: I head up our gaming and esports business unit at NCompass. We focus on the development and production of events and content for the gaming and esports industry as well as brand strategy and experiential activation in the space, helping a lot of our endemic and non-endemic brand clients create meaningful connections with the esports and gaming consumer.
EM: Talk about something that you’ve learned about the esports space in the past year.
RF: I’m not sure I’ve learned this in the last year, but it has definitely been reinforced, and that’s the fact that there’s still a ton of opportunity in gaming and esports for brands to come in and fully own significant areas of the space. I don’t think we have any de facto brand within gaming and esports. Certainly, you have some of your existing endemic brands that have been in the space for quite a while, and maybe Red Bull is the go-to energy drink within the gaming community, but virtually every other category is still up for grabs within the space. In fact, there are huge categories like auto and financial services that can benefit from authentically connecting with the competitive gaming culture.
EM: What kinds of brand sponsorships are you seeing now?
RF: The league models are presenting some exciting opportunities and some interesting challenges. When I say league models, as examples we’ve got Overwatch League and League of Legends, and now you’re seeing it pop up again with Call of Duty World League taking a more geographic-specific approach. They’re bringing in major brands, but we see those brands activate in very traditional sports marketing ways. What I’m hoping is …read more