The Next Big Opportunities in Esports

June 6, 2022

2021 was a big year for Esports, with streaming watch time across Twitch, Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming growing 21% year-over year according to Stream Hatchet. 2022 is showing continued precipitous viewership growth, and investment from brands as more marketers throw their hats into the proverbial ring to capitalize on Esports opportunities.

In celebration of the release of our first-ever Esports report detailing top brands betting on gaming, we’ve rounded up several Esports-related WinmoEdge opportunities for sellers across media, sponsorship, agency and martech organizations to take advantage of.

If you benefit from the info below, download our report to source key contact and company information for brands significantly upping investment in this space.

1)  ESTV: Esports Channel Taps New CMO

ESTV, the world’s first 24/7 live, linear and on-demand Esports channel, appointed Melissa Fisher as CMO in April 2022. From a prospecting perspective, it’s crucial to stay up to date on any new hires or promotions so you can be first in line to offer services ahead of your competition. Fisher brings industry experience from her most recent position as COO & CMO of eSports Tower. She was the CMO of In-Sight Location Technologies prior to that. Fisher replaces Conner Krizanic, who was the company’s first-ever CMO. Keep an eye on this growing company because this hire could lead to higher ad spend, as well as, agency hires. 

  • Sellers: No national spend data is reported for ESTV by Pathmatics, iSpot, or Adbeat, so this is an area in which Fisher may decide to build brand awareness. The team at WinmoEdge predicts she will invest in digital channels first, considering eSports are popular among Gen-Z and millennial men. Get in touch with the new CMO to see if you can offer any ad space.
  • Agency & martech readers: To the best of our knowledge, ESTV is not working with any agencies at this time. Start contacting the new CMO soon to be top-of-mind because she may decide to outsource some of her new duties. We recommend offering PR/communication assistance, and to focus your pitches on helping ESTV build brand awareness.

2)  Complexity Gaming: Esports Partnership Opportunities

E-sports company Complexity Gaming (CG) recently expanded its partnership with popular beer brand Miller Lite. Now, the companies will collaborate on merchandise while seeking ways to “support minority voices in Esports.”

Soon, the merch collaboration will launch through CG’s web store. The company will also team up with Miller Lite on a series of streams dedicated to Unsung Heroes such as LGBTQ+, LatinX, and female individuals, as well as charitable initiatives. We expect this is an effort to reach Gen-Z since this generation tends to invest in brands fighting for social justice.

CG also experienced a serious leadership shift recently; in November 2021, Olly Emery joined as CMO. Most recently the marketing head at Gamesquare Esports, Emery seems to be CG’s first CMO. Obviously, he is leading the company to pursue stronger partnerships and partner Esports opportunities; CG is probably also seeking new, similar partnerships with other brands.

3. iHeartMedia Adds Esports Activations

iHeartMedia recently announced a new deal with Super League Gaming, through which the two will team up on an upcoming launch of iHeartLand, a virtual world with fan-oriented experiences. Super League will also utilize iHeartMedia’s relationships with brands in search of ways to advertise in virtual worlds.

In January, iHeartMedia announced its first metaverse effort, events and other fan experiences on gaming platform Roblox.

  • Sellers: We expect the company to ramp up advertising in support of these new initiatives. According to iSpot, the company’s iHeartRadio brand has allocated roughly $11.2k toward national TV commercials YTD, only around a fifth of the roughly $50k it had allocated by this point last year. The brand ended up allocating roughly $109.4k toward this channel last year, more than double the roughly $45k it spent in 2020. iHeartRadio’s 2022 commercials have targeted Gen-X watching Fixer Upper: Welcome Home and Married at First Sight.

So far this year, digital spend in Winmo Pro shows iHeartMedia has spent approximately $1m on digital ads, only about half of the approximately $2.1m it spent in 2020. Spend will likely pick back up soon to support iHeartMedia’s new initiatives. Metaverse advertising usually means a target demographic of Gen-Z and millennials, so sellers able to offer high-ROI digital strategies likely have an upper hand. The company also invests in print, OOH, radio and local broadcast. iHeartMedia doesn’t currently show major signs of upcoming agency reviews; it has an in-house media team, and NOM handles digital.

Want more? Check out our 2022 Report: Brands in Gaming & Esports, to find:

  • Key industry analysis
  • Top brands in gaming & esports
  • Key buy-side contacts, ad spend, Twitch activity, planning/buying periods and more

If you liked this blog post, check out:

  1. 4 Brands for Increasing Instagram Spending: Q2 2022
  2. New CMO Hires: June 2022 
  3. List of Agencies in the Omnicom Network

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