Yes, E-Sports Really Will Be That Big

Almost 18 months in, and I still love coming to this office every day. The confluence of media, data, audience, content and technology is a part of almost every discussion, every call, every idea that crosses my desk. And I find it so incredibly exciting. We are truly on the precipice of the next iteration of the digital revolution. My colleagues are fearlessly diving into enterprise technology integrations, partnership complexities, marketing decisions and every conceivable challenge that a start-up faces… with poise. It’s so rewarding to be a part of this team of hustlers.

Part of what keeps me so engaged is that these topics are regularly in the headlines and represent the bleeding edge of popular culture. Take esports, for example. I don’t come from a generation of interactive gamers. I grew up on Atari 2600, Intellivision, Colecovision, and eventually Nintendo. So esports took some time to warm up to. After a little time on Twitch and YouTube though, I started to get a real understanding of how powerful and influential these esports athletes really are, and just how important their voices can be for their fans. Yes, they are the best Fortnite, League Of Legends and Overwatch players in the world. But they are also totally connected to their audience, have unique personalities, and converse with a population on a range of topics that aren’t addressed in other media.

As a result, we’ve been closely following esports’ explosive growth and are looking to build an exclusive data set in that vertical. It has so many complementary elements to the strategy around music and pop culture audience data and its associated monetization: persistent affinities, deep engagement across many demographic segments, extraordinary consumption on mobile devices, high advertiser demand. In fact, I was just reading this article about how the esports world and music industry could benefit from working together. From esports stars releasing their own singles to pop music stars guest hosting Twitch livestreams, there are tons of mash-up and crossover opportunities. You don’t need to look any further than Drake and Scooter Braun’s investment in 100 Thieves to see how this is already playing out IRL.

The esports sector will close almost $1 billion in revenue in 2018, with advertising and sponsorship accounting for 59% of that revenue. You don’t need to be Brian Wieser to see how media, data, audience, content and technology will play together to bring massive opportunities for the athletes, their business teams, and all of us who can transact exclusive access to the attention of these voracious fans. I find that incredibly exciting. Almost as exciting as hitting the kill screen on Donkey Kong level 22 :) …

Anyone have ideas on what other audiences are scaling as quickly as esports? I’d love to be in the know!

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