Header Photo Source: ESports Observer
ESports is a relatively new niche in the world of professional sports, but it is growing faster than any other. Teams or individual players across the globe are competing in video games for millions of U.S. dollars (for highest-level championships). The common games in eSports include League of Legends, Dota, and Overwatch, among others. Seeing the status eSports have earned in recent years, it is no longer surprising that international panel events take place for professionals in the field and dedicated fans. The most recent one was ESI Digital Spring Panel, which took place on March 30-31 in an online format.
How the eSports Industry Has Grown So Much
The eSports industry has been on the rise over the last decade, and the estimated value of the global Esports market is $1.08 billion. The number is projected to grow about fifty percent in just three years. The ongoing pandemic has been especially stimulating for eSports. With all sporting events canceled, sports fans had to find alternatives to satisfy their cravings.
Brands, too, had to explore new opportunities for sponsorship and marketing. For example, Pringles, the brand traditionally associated with football, partnered up with G2, a leading European eSports company. Despite the industry’s incredible growth in the 2010s, many conservative brands still find it hard to put their finger on eSports. However, it looks like the ‘pandemic boost’ has finally taken eSports to the next level, and it is getting into the mainstream.
Based in London, ESI is one of the world’s main platforms for all things eSports and a B2B eSports events company. Esports Insider covers all global eSports-related news, from the announcements of professional teams looking for new star players to the analysis of the gambling industry in the UK. ESI has a magazine and a podcast, and it also organizes the ESI Digital series, business events focused on everything that concerns the eSports industry.
ESI Digital Spring Panel: The Highlights
ESI Digital Spring Panel featured many productive and relevant discussions. Here are some of the most notable ones:
Day One, March 30
Panel on eSports in China. According to Bo Shen, the Vice President of RNG Esports, “Traditional sports in China is very weak compared to other countries, but China developed esports so quickly to fill this void.” Much of the first day of ESI Digital Spring Panel was dedicated to Esports potential in China, which has some of the highest eSports viewership in the world. The speakers discussed overseas eSports teams in China and Chinese eSports organizations’ international expansion, among other things.
Notable Brand Partnerships and Showcases. The two star partnerships of the discussion were G2 with Pringles and ESL Gambling GmbH and DHL. They mostly focused on the potential of eSports for brand marketing and sponsorship opportunities.
Other interesting topics included the potential of blockchain in eSports, the responsibilities of game publishers, and many more.
Day Two, March 31
Oversaturating Esports. The speakers, including the CEO of Nerd Street Gamers, discussed the concerns associated with the possibility of oversaturating eSports. Most experts agree that as a sign of growth, the public’s interest, and immense potential, “oversaturation” should not be treated as a problem.
The Place of Chess. There is an ongoing discussion on whether or not chess can be considered an eSport. Most participants of the panel agreed that it lacked relatability, software, and team spirit of video gaming but has the potential to be adapted to the eSports world over time.
Other panels held during day two addressed fan engagement, eSports investment, and broadcasting.
Attendees’ feedback to ESI Digital Spring was overwhelmingly positive. ESI will keep holding Digital Events going forward. More panels are expected this summer.