eSports serves as an excellent channel for media companies and telcos with Pay-TV offerings to re-engage with the traditionally hard-to-reach millennials, by offering both linear and interactive eSports content as well as increasing their brand association with eSports on multiple levels.
While it was a hard struggle for eSports to gain mainstream acceptance in the early 2000s, it has since seen strong growth in popularity. Research firm SuperData has reported that eSports global viewership (combined across all platforms) grew from 36 million in 2012 to over 135 million in 2015. eSports has the potential to become the next major sport to compete head-to-head with mainstream sports events: see the viewership numbers of the League of Legends (LoL) championship finals as compared to NBA (basketball) and MLB (baseball) finals from 2013-2015.
That said, on an aggregate level, eSports viewership is still a small fraction of other major sports when compared across entire sports seasons.
So, how can media companies and telcos with Pay-TV offerings better capitalize on the emergence on eSports?
These companies need to engage their customers (with interest in gaming) at a deeper level by offering broader eSports content through both linear and interactive TV platforms, as well as increasing their brand association with eSports on multiple levels.
Form partnerships with established gaming-centric OTT platforms to stream live games (on linear platforms) and VOD content (on interactive TV platforms)
Improve their brand association with eSports via event sponsorships, player-brand endorsements or even launching their own teams to participate in eSports competitions.
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