eSports: A thriving industry with endless possibilities
Last week, Caudan Art Centre hosted the third edition of Gaming Arena, a eSports tournament showcasing the island's thriving gaming community. In sync with a global surge in eSports popularity, this local event marked a significant milestone. With eSports poised to surpass USD 1.6 billion in global revenues by 2024, Mauritius is riding the wave of accessible technology and internet connectivity, making competitive gaming a widespread passion.
ESports - short for electronic sports - is a form of competitive video gaming involving multiple players and teams. The matches are streamed live to fans across the globe. Though they are not new, multiplayer competitions have taken a whole new dimension thanks to the advent of live streaming platforms. Covering a spectrum of genres, from shooter games such as Fortnite, Counter-Strike, and Call of Duty to sports titles like Fifa Online 2024 and Gran Turismo, eSports embraces a diverse range of gaming styles.
In recent years, eSports has experienced remarkable growth, turning it into a truly global industry. Its economic significance is immense: in 2019, it generated global revenues amounting to USD 957.5 million. In 2021, sponsorship and advertising, alone, accounted for USD 641 million. The market, as a whole, is expected to exceed USD 1.6 billion in 2024, thanks to one of the fastest growing fan bases in professional sports.
As a matter of fact, the number of enthusiasts and occasional viewers reached almost 400 million. To put this into perspective, the audience on YouTube and Twitch – two main live streaming platforms in the US and Europe to follow the competitions – is larger than HBO, Netflix and ESPN combined. Indeed, the advent of online streaming media platforms in the late 2000s enabled a surge in participation by professional gamers and teams.
Affordable hardware (computers, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles) have made eSports more accessible. Coupled with improved Internet connectivity in many regions, it has allowed spectators to better immerse themselves in the game. As a result, eSports has become a very popular and lucrative industry that generates profits like other professional sports leagues.
Moreover, eSports proves to be very beneficial to advertisers and partners, especially in terms of brand exposure and engagement. By bringing together gaming, media, pop culture and e-commerce, it offers opportunities that go way beyond gaming events. It certainly opens an array of marketing avenues.
Besides advertising and sponsorship, marketers often collaborate with gaming influencers to ensure brand visibility. Gaming streams also provide brands with the opportunities to advertise via in-stream video ads. Marketers willing to explore further can even partner with video game developers. They create custom/branded content, integrating their products or logos within the gaming environment.
In Mauritius, eSports has been gaining momentum over the past years. Tournaments are becoming increasingly popular, like the Gaming Arena, the third edition of which took place on 13th and 14th January. This event is organised by eSports Faction, a prominent brand in the local eSports industry since 2018, with the support of MCB.
The company boasts 30,000 followers across its social media platforms and a monthly reach of 110,000 on Facebook alone. As is the case throughout the world, the average age range of the fanbase is 14-20 years old, of which 80% are male.
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