eSports is still growing and marketers are looking for ways to get their brand attached to the sports. However should eSports be marketed the same way as traditional sports or are the difference too high?
So first lets have a look at what traditional sports and eSports have in common? The athletes have a celebrity status, they are adored by thousands of fans who are all interested in the lives of these peoples. Another important and tangible other example is the clothing that the professional players wear. eSport teams have e-athletes and they are recognizable by their shirts. These shirts have space where brands could put sponsor logos and promotional messaging, similar to a football shirt. These shirts are also sold by eSports teams so fans are also starting to wear the tops that their favorite player does, like in sport. They could wear them when watching streams or when visiting live games that are being held in stadiums.
The marketing of eSports can be matched to a certain degree when compared to traditional sports. Nevertheless it is important to recognize that there is not one solution for this situation. eSports is a new industry that is evolving at a rapid pace as technologies advance and new audience become more engaged. Currently the situation is, that eSports fans are all seen as one big group. Whoever there are a lot of different games that are being played and each game has different kind of fans who need a different approach in marketing. Simply implying the same marketing approach companies use for traditional sports will maybe get you far however if you want to succeed in the world of eSports you need to undertake the necessary research and gain insight so that you can come up with the approach that works best for that specific target group. Ajax is mostly know as a football club from Amsterdam however they also see the impact that eSports has and wanted to combine traditional sports with eSports. Ajax therefor made the decision to sign two e-athletes who play Fifa while representing Ajax . Ajax created a separate eSports Twitter account to give the fans updates via this social media. This stresses the importance of a receiver-oriented perspective on integrated marketing communications. They made a special communication platforms for their new target audience. Ajax recognizes the added value of comprehensive strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines.
Companies are still finding out new ways to handle eSports the best they can. In that process it is important to really do research to what kind of eSports game you want to engage with. Ajax chose to engage with Fifa players since this is closest to the interest of their already existing fans. They created a new marketing plan where the fans of the traditional sports would not be constantly bothered with news about eSports. At this moment it is unwise to have the same marketing approach for traditional sports as for eSports. The nature of eSports appeal to audience and therefore monetized is so different. The way eSports is being watched and experienced differs very much from traditional sports. There is still a lot to be figured out about eSports its value and the right ways to buy in as an advertiser. But what certainly cannot be ignored is that eSports have arrived.