A guide to esports: What’s the value for publishers?

There is a significant opportunity for publishers to monetize esports as it attracts niche & highly engaged audiences.

By Ella Wilks-Harper | Mar 16, 2018

Esports is a booming industry that’s hit the mainstream. We breakdown the ins and outs of the industry and what it means for the media world…

Experts predict that by 2020 the industry will be worth over $1.5 billion.

— Source: Statista

What is esports?

Esports is video gaming at a professional level. Players often compete for the chance of winning eye-watering cash prizes. The most recent Dota 2 tournament had a prize pool of over $24.7 million. According to Mail Online esports reporter Matt Porter, the sport is “completely opposite to the stereotype of the kid in the parent’s basement playing video games”. As with any other professional athlete Porter says many esports gamers have signed professional contracts, have strict training regimes and some even have dietary restrictions to improve reaction speed. Experts predict that by 2020 the industry will be worth over $1.5 billion.

How popular is it?

Fans can attend matches in-person which are often held in huge stadiums. The 2017 Legends World Championship final was held at Beijing’s 80,000 capacity Bird’s Nest stadium, previously used for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Porter told Reuters that even the largest stadiums that host esports events are always packed out. “You can’t squeeze any more people into them and it’s been that way for many years now,” he explained.

Platforms such as Twitch often stream matches online. Last January, the sport smashed the previously set viewer record reaching over 1 million streaming views.

According to Joshua Duboff, senior product manager, sports & entertainment at Reuters, advancements in technology is one of the key factors to the sports popularity.

He said, video streaming has “allowed the best teams and gamers to attract their own audience of followers across all corners of the globe”.

The gamer audience is primarily younger and as they age, they have more buying power.

— Joshua Duboff, senior product manager, sports & entertainment verticals, Reuters

What’s the audience demographic?

Esports entertains a young demographic dominated by millenials. This demographic is ideal for publishers and investors.

Duboff says, “The gamer audience is primarily younger and as they age, they have more buying power. These fans are a target market for many companies hoping to attract lifelong loyal customers to their brands so they’re making financial investments into the tournaments”.

How is it covered?

The Reuters Esports Text Wire, in partnership with Field Level Media, provides year-round, original and in-depth coverage of the esports industry. The Reuters Esports Text Wire will have the same focus as all other sports we cover.

Duboff says, “We see a big opportunity to deliver content that will be valuable to our customers and we want to make sure we’re doing it with the same principles that apply to any Reuters content”.

What to expect from the Reuters Esports Text Wire:

  • More than 20 articles per week
  • Written by professionals who know and understand the esports industry
  • A new content vertical to excite and attract a larger audience