eSports, Sponsors and TVJune 6, 2016Advertising, Analysis, Sponsorship, TV
Note: This post contains a preview of the June 2016 edition of eSports Sponsorship Insight.
Competitive video games continued their TV odyssey Friday June 3rd, 2016 with the second installment of Turner Sports’ ELeague Season #1. The Group B finals between, Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) and G2 eSports, was aired at 10pm EST on TBS, and featured the Swedish-based NiP routing G2 in convincing fashion. It also further showcased Turner’s approach to premium eSports programming. While the challenges faced by live competitive video game TV broadcasts are well noted. The valuable opportunities, created by a unique marriage of eSports and linear TV, aren’t as widely emphasized. Specifically, the amplified value sponsors receive courtesy of a new wave of TV broadcasts.
Obviously, true measurement for sponsors is dependent on technology and methodologies to capture and quantify value. However, competitive video game matches broadcast on TV offer a unique angle for the brands, represented by logos, labeled equipment and other visually marked items, seeking to build affinity with audiences. Whereas traditional sports require full physical immersion by participants, eSports is characterized by a distinction between the field of play and its human competitors.
TV eSports broadcasts are charged with merging the digital playing field and human contestants into a cohesive viewing experience. ELeague accomplishes this with strategic cut-away views of players and teams, which takes the form of eye-level and close up shots. Coupled with HD broadcast quality, these angles provide unique value for equipment and jersey sponsors of eSports events.
To demonstrate, clearly visible sponsor logo impressions from the G2 vs NiP matchup were tracked. The top five totals, see below, only include live gameplay, and don’t count impressions during pre-produced segments and/or pre-and-post game coverage. The results reveal a small sample size of the range of sponsor exposure offered by an ELeague TV broadcast.
- Maxnomic – Chair provider for both teams
- Netgear – Jersey sponsor for NiP
- Plantronics – Headset provider for both teams
- Xtrfy – Jersey sponsor for NiP
- Zowie – Gaming monitor for both teams
More prominent than the raw number of impressions is how well HD broadcasts relayed logo visibility, as compared to online streams. Without the requirement of capturing an entire field, or court, for the duration of play, eSports broadcasts portray sponsor connection with its athletes in a more intimate fashion. This enables sponsors to better connect with the emotion and energy of competitive video game events without buying ad time. Television then provides a superior platform for relaying the live eSports experience – graphics, sounds, etc. – to remote audiences, casual and hardcore viewers, alike.
Although questions about ratings for live eSports broadcasts on TV remain, one thing is clear: fundamental differences between the eSports and sports product renders a variance between how sponsor presence is perceived. Turner has created an uncluttered commercial backdrop for ELeague TV audiences, where the priority is to represent the highest level of competitive video game play in a clean and entertaining fashion, with advertising interests taking a back seat. While Turner does provide on-screen space for its corporate partners – Arby’s, Credit Karma, Buffalo Wild Wings, Mobile Strike – nothing else about ELeague even hints at commercialism. This open air space drastically improves the communication effectiveness for sponsors who are involved.
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