As the media industry evolves, it’s essential that M&E organizations and suppliers stay on the cutting edge. Few industries are as dynamic and rapidly transformative as media and entertainment, and while that can often present challenges for businesses that want to remain consistently relevant, it also offers new opportunities. One of the most exciting opportunities right now? Esports!
Over the past few years, Esports has experienced an incredibly meteoric rise in popularity, closing out the decade by posting its very first billion-dollar year globally. As the phenomenon continues to expand, it’s critical that media enterprises recognize the impact of what Esports is doing, and understand the opportunities that this growing sliver of M&E represents.
As I explored in a previous article, Esports offers a remarkable opportunity for media organizations that are willing to take it seriously. As it stands now, pro-gaming is a dynamic and lucrative business on nearly every continent, and shows no signs of slowing down.
While previously considered a niche hobby, competitive gaming is swiftly becoming just as popular as traditional sports and pushing industry innovation in ways that no one might have previously predicted. With streaming platforms like Twitch, Esports is creating a more democratic idea of celebrity than traditional sports such as football or baseball, while still giving rise to incredibly popular figureheads who command as much attention as Lebron James or David Beckham. As a result, major brands like Toyota, Spotify, and Coca-Cola have invested in Esports as a genuinely remarkable advertising opportunity.
Recently, VentureBeat published the transcript of their Esports panel at the 2019 National Association of Broadcasting (NAB) convention. The wide-ranging conversation explored the nuances of broadcasting Esports competitions, and how they superficially resemble regular sports broadcasting while exhibiting some fundamental differences (more complex technology, the integration of additional workflows such as social media promotion, etc.) in the production needs.
While traditional sports and other live events have started to adopt remote or centralized productions, Esports seems to be pushing that model further and faster, to reduce production costs and to streamline global workflows. Just check out what our friends from RIOT did last November. It’s awesome! Crowded tournaments make the prospect of bringing a massive crew saddled with tons of equipment simply unfeasible, and so broadcasters worked hard to adopt a production model that allows editing and post production to be done offsite, at a remote studio. As a result, organizations have been quick to adopt a number of cutting-edge technologies that they might have considered superfluous had the Esports phenomenon not demanded their attention.
With its distinct chances and challenges, Esports has the potential to alter the industry landscape, and how many M&E enterprises do business. How beneficial that will be to individual organizations depends on how willing they are to reckon with the impact and the awesomely exciting circumstances of this new golden goose.