In 2022, sports will be as important as the National Football League. This is one of the astounding conclusions of a recent study by Goldman Sachs that the esport market is expected to generate $ 3 billion in revenue by 2022. Over the next five years, esports will experience annual growth of 14%, depending on the investment made. study of the bank.
Goldman Sachs is not the only one to be optimistic about the growth of esports. A PwC study has issued similar proclamations, recalling that this space "can no longer be ignored". Major networks such as ESPN, NBC and TBS are even launching into space, hosting major live sports tournaments.
The popularity of the Battle Royale genre contributes to the incredible growth of this market. Fortnite – the online multiplayer game of Epic Games – has become a phenomenon and has created a number of megastars of esports, including Tyler 'Ninja' Blevins.
Fortnite's popularity also attracted our attention to Reach3 Insights, prompting us to explore the factors behind the game's impressive rise. In partnership with popular TheSquatingDog Instagram streaming and influencer, we have engaged more than 900 Fortnite players in conversation drills using Rival Technologies software. During this process, we collected hundreds of videos and images and uncovered surprising information about the behavior, emotions and context of Generation Z, the cohort after millennia.
Naturally, esport has become a major theme and the findings of the study provide essential lessons for companies wishing to benefit from the growth of this market.
A popular sport but cloisonné
Among the players we have engaged, Fortnite events are very hot, but this popularity is not reflected in the rest of the world of esport. According to our study, 56% of players watched some or all of Fortnite's summer skirmish competitions, but 68% of these Fortnite Generation Z players reported not taking part in the non-esport events. -Fortnite. Overwatch League was the only other event that caught the eye. He was followed by 21% of Fortnite players.
Our study suggests that, while people are turning to esport, their interest is more focused on the games that are played, at least among Gen Z Fortnite's committed players, and not on esport in general. In a way, it makes sense if you think of more traditional sports; it's not because someone looks at basketball that she also looks at football. But it's an interesting discovery, given the craze for esports.
For sports sports to grow as fast as many experts predict, there must be a steady stream of extremely popular games such as Fortnite. It will also be important to specifically respond to fans of each game rather than taking a unique approach to universal sport.
Our results also remind companies that want to take advantage of esport marketing to do more research before they get started. What works for Counter-Strike is not necessarily what will work for League of Legends. There are many opportunities to take advantage of the growing popularity of esport, but there is also a risk of failure if you do not understand the motivations and desires of your audience.
An appetite to go local
Earlier this year, Epic Games caused a sensation by announcing that it would spend $ 100 million at the Fortnite competition awards for the 2018-19 season. This is a bold and impressive initiative that demonstrates the company's determination to keep Fortnite at the top of its agenda.
Much of this money is destined for events such as the Fortnite Summer Skirmish, whose total price rises to $ 8 million. But Epic and other gaming studios might want to spend some of their money on local events. One-third of the players we discussed said that they wanted Fortnite to run local qualifiers and 20% wanted bigger prizes.
The big bright events such as EVO or TwitchCon have become a standard in the field of esport, but our study suggests that it would also be useful to reduce the size. On the one hand, local events will engage more people. At the moment, skirmishers are only qualified by invitation from Epic Games, but local qualifiers will give regular players the opportunity to compete and compete with the pros. This theoretical path to the big time for amateur players can help increase the level of competition and engagement at the local level. Local events can allow more people to feel included and give players the opportunity to interact directly with the brand.
There is also a lesson to be learned for brands other than games. Taking a city tour with something new can be a really exciting experience for many of your clients. Los Angeles, New York and other metropolitan areas are the usual suspects when companies organize events. However, reaching smaller cities can make other guests feel more involved and help you build your community in a natural and organic way.
The availability of statistics would lead to more buzz
In Fortnite tournaments, players' wish lists were also among the quick reps using a spectator mode, a centralized statistics or results website, and a real-time display of the number of players remaining and the number of kills. . Today, the Epic Games website offers live rankings, links to full reruns and weekly results, but our study shows that it might be possible to develop these web pages and provide coverage. more thoroughly, perhaps in the same way. as do the National Football League or the National Hockey League.
So, why do players want more statistics and information about the game? We think it comes down to building the community. The deep statistics will give players something to geek and talk with other players. The easy availability of statistics could also increase the popularity of analysts and podcasts who discuss the subtleties of the high-level Fortnite game. Fortnite, of course, is a master in word of mouth and community development, but we believe that Epic Games still has room to grow when it comes to doing the same thing during his tournaments and events.
The growth and the prospects of esports are undeniable, but as our study shows, the industry has the opportunity to increase its attractiveness, engage local audiences and create word of mouth. In this period of strong growth, it is important that businesses get closer to players and fans – and meet the expectations of these audiences.
Matt Kleinschmit is the CEO and founder of Reach3 Insights, a purpose-driven consulting firm that leverages agile, on-demand, conversational technologies and techniques for market research.