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Parimatch drives eSports engagement through video content and fan forum strategy

George Miller

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Parimatch drives eSports engagement through video content and fan forum strategy
Stepan Shulga
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Currently, eSports is the most dynamically developing sport in the world and as the surplus of digital platforms increases, eSports fans can be overwhelmed with content, whether it is generated by influencers, sports media outlets or eSports leagues themselves. As one of the first betting providers to identify the opportunity to bet on cybersport events, Parimatch continues to blaze a trail in customer engagement with its latest consolidated approach and according to Stepan Shulga, Head of eSports at the leading international betting company, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

 

Where do you see the next big wins in terms of keeping fans loyal and how do you balance up creating engaging content with driving revenue?
With so many digital platforms from so many groups it is important to produce the most engaging and varied content possible – and for us, at the moment, this is video.  However, moving forward, we are looking how we can offer more interactive content and help support deeper engagement with the customers. We believe that there is a lot that we can learn from the popularity of forums with eSport gamers.

With regards to eSports, you’re making waves with your Virtus.Pro partnership, can you discuss Parimatch’s investment strategy in eSports?
Our entire business strategy is unified by one ultimate aim – to connect our customers with both mainstream and niche sports through the best quality betting products. For that reason, we do not have a separate business or investment strategy for eSports; our approach is to ensure first and foremost that our customers experience an excellent online service.
eSports is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, and we were among the first betting providers to identify the opportunity to bet on cybersport events. As a market leader in this regard, we know the field well, and what eSports fans are most interested in.  We also work to ensure our brand resonates with millennial audiences, who follow eSports most closely. Our partnerships with Virtus.Pro, one of the most established international eSports organisations, and some of the most popular and high-quality video games, such as DOTA2, exemplify this strategy.

eSports is still seen as a relatively new phenomenon to mainstream audiences, what’s the key to interacting with current fans whilst targeting new customers to the sector?
There is no magic key – but in order to engage current fans it is important to closely follow and analyse the eSports market to anticipate emerging trends. We work with eSports experts and specialists, and they help us identify audience patterns and create insights. This is a continuous and systematic process and ensures we stay ahead of the curve, and therefore maintain customer loyalty.
For targeting new customers, we first conduct market research to understand who this audience might be. Understanding the customer has to be the first stage in the process, before identifying channels and content. In the digital age, social media is more important than ever for reaching new potential customers – and it is important to cut through with strong brand personality. We recently underwent a bold rebrand, which helped us to stand out from the crowd.

The younger millennial market is a key focus for eSports in the US, Asia, Africa and beyond, how is your team targeting this segment of players responsibly?
At Parimatch, we believe betting companies are accountable for customer welfare, and therefore champion responsible gambling principles. We have introduced measures in the business to ensure all customers are protected, through 24/7 customer support, collaborating with responsible gambling organizations, limitations on betting accounts, and sharing information on the dangers of gambling addiction on Parimatch owned channels.

eSports wagering seems to be a key focus for the sector at this time, where do you see the possibilities and issues ahead for bookmakers?
The window of opportunity, as it may seem to many, is not opening now, it is fully opened, and it may soon be closing. The key opportunity is learning. We learn to meet the interests of a young audience, including through eSports. Theories are tested within one day; the response of the audience comes at an incredible speed. There are plenty of difficulties in this market for bookmakers, the most important thing to understand is respect for customer choice. We often underestimate the power of gamers’ loyalty to their entertainment. We believe gaming to be something irrational, teenage. This is the main difficulty, if you do not treat them like others — if you don’t give them enough attention, you will lose the game.
From a sector perspective, the lack of uniformity and established rules and federations for eSports, as in traditional sports, makes it difficult to plan and predict. The lack of adequate expertise and experience of managers in eSports is also a significant problem.

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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eSports

How the NBA is Making Waves in eSports

George Miller

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How the NBA is Making Waves in eSports
NBA 2K Esports League players use HyperX headsets. Photo Source: unsplash.com
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

The National Basketball Association has just turned 73 years old and is one of the four major leagues for professional level sports in North America. Thanks to this age and prominence, it is often considered the world’s leading basketball league, with good reason. Whilst comprising of teams only from the United States and Canada, the NBA attracts many international players who join from every continent. In addition, the average NBA team is worth $1.9 billion, considerably more than teams in other leagues.

Expanding the Empire

The NBA is currently enacting a strategy to leverage its brand around the world, developing audiences in regions outside of the United States including the UK, Africa and China. As part of this it recently announced the launch of a NBA YouTube channel to stream games to sub-Saharan audiences.

The eSports Expansion

In 2017, the NBA and games developer Take-Two Interactive announced that 17 of the 30 NBA teams would be taking part in the inaugural NBA 2K eSports League. This list included big names like the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors. The first of these eSports games took place in 2018, using the NBA 2K video games. Like real life games, NBA 2K eSports League games are contested between two teams of 5 players, making use of the “Pro-Am” mode found in the consumer version of NBA 2K 2018.

Just like in real life basketball, the eSports teams are generally made up of the following types of player:

  • Point guard: generally taking the on court leadership role for the team, typically having the best ball handling and passing skills to assist in creating shots
  • Shooting guard: typically the best shooter on the team, tasked with exploiting these skills, particularly when shooting from behind the three-point line
  • Small forward: often considered the most versatile position of the five, the small forward often takes on the role of the shooting guard, but is more likely to score baskets from lay-ups or slam dunks in contrast to the shooting guard’s three-point shooting abilities
  • Power forward: a versatile role, similar to the centre, which requires shooting and defence skills against all types of players
  • Centre: typically the tallest players, defending against shots and collecting rebounds.

The “eSeason”

In the real world, the NBA Championship will be decided between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors in mid June. Currently, odds comparison site Oddschecker is ranking the Raptors as favourites to take the crown. However, the NBA 2K eSports season begins in spring and finishes in summer. This timing allows the NBA to have its brand utilised for a larger portion of the year, beyond the end of the traditional basketball season.

eSports has become a multi million dollar industry.  Photo by Anthony Brolin, License

 

First Mover Advantage

The NBA’s announcement in 2017 that it would be launching the NBA 2K eSports League meant that it was the first major sports brand in the United States to enter the world of eSports. In contrast, most other eSports leagues are organised by tech companies like Intel – or games companies like Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite. Therefore, if the NBA is successful it will have several years of development to build a loyal eSports fan base, before rivals such as the National Football League or Major League Baseball join the party.

Growing Already

After a successful first year, four additional real life NBA teams will be joining the NBA 2K eSports League lineup, bringing the total number to 21. These new teams are: the Atlanta Hawks, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Brooklyn Nets and the Minnesota Timberwolves.The growth provides mutual benefits, since the teams will bring with them their own existing supporters who are more likely to follow their team’s eSports team, than an unknown entrant. In addition, the fans of eSports are likely to also gain a stronger interest in the real life team, buying merchandise and visiting games.

Live Streaming

Just as traditional sports leagues like the NBA have sold rights to air games on TV, the NBA 2K eSports League has signed a deal to have its games streamed live over the internet. The deal with streaming platform Twitch sees all games shown live, available to its audience of 15 million daily active users. The multi year streaming deal also includes commentary and analysis, just like you would expect from traditional TV coverage of any other sport.

The NBA 2K eSports deal is not Twitch’s first with the NBA. In December 2017, the two companies signed a deal that enabled Twitch to live stream games from the NBA G League, the official minor league, with up to 6 matches each week being distributed on the platform.

Sponsorship

Just like traditional sports leagues, the NBA 2K eSports League has signed a number of major sponsorship deals with large companies. Games are played on computers provided by gaming PC brand Alienware, using powerful processing chipsets supplied by Intel. Players use HyperX sponsored headsets and Scuf Gaming branded controllers. Teams also have their own sponsors, with their logos displayed on the teams’ in-game uniforms, just like in real life.

Conclusion

The growth in eSports has been massive, with large sums of money now being invested in creating leagues with all of the hallmarks of a traditional sport. In its quest to become a global sports brand, the NBA has been able to leverage its existing assets to create a large following in eSports, almost overnight. By launching the league in 2018 with 17 existing NBA teams, the NBA 2K eSports League already had loyal fans of 17 established sports clubs who would want to support them. Thus, it has a pre-made fanbase, huge financial assets and an established brand to leverage sponsorship deals and to use in negotiations when selling streaming rights.

In addition, the NBA’s venture into eSports is a significant opportunity to expand the reach of its brand into new geographic regions, as well as to new demographics that had not previously been interested in basketball. Even if a player does not become an avid watcher of NBA games, sales of the NBA 2K video game titles are also likely to benefit from the exposure of the NBA 2K eSports League.

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eSports

ReKTGlobal Acquires Greenlit Content

Niji Narayan

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ReKTGlobal Acquires Greenlit Content
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

ReKTGlobal, one of the leading esports organisation and the parent company of Rogue, has acquired Greenlit Content, a company that operates TwinGalaxies and Shacknews.

“Although we had a number of other offers from gaming and esports organizations, ReKTGlobal made the most sense for expanding our business and connecting with a global audience,” John Benyamine, CEO and Co-Founder of Greenlit Content said.

“Not only does the vision outlined by Dave and Amish embody our own, we are excited about the opportunity to integrate with the extremely impressive talent and esports roster that ReKTGlobal brings to the table,” Benyamine added.

The deal will bring together Greenlit Content’s media network, global GameDaily Connect conferences, gaming audience and brand partners that include the likes of E3, Comic-Con International, The Beard Club, Activision Blizzard and Dell.

“While esports is a big part of Greenlit Content’s portfolio, we also work with endemic and non- endemic brands across gaming and mixed reality. With the backing of ReKTGlobal, we can continue to grow the esports audience, while offering clients content marketing opportunities with built-in ROI across our network of sites, social, international game developer conferences and consumer-focused events across the U.S.” John Gaudiosi, President and Co-Founder of Greenlit Content said.

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eSports

Sterling.VC Launches Andbox Brand

Niji Narayan

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Sterling.VC Launches Andbox Brand
Photo Source: dotesports.com
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Sterling.VC has launched a new brand named Andbox to encompass its esports initiatives. In a release, Andbox is described as “the first multi-franchise esports organization to represent New York in the world’s preeminent esports leagues.”

In addition to overseeing those franchised teams, Andbox will also focus on hosting additional esports events in and around New York City, as well as creating content and developing original lifestyle and apparel products.

Andbox has appointed Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, co-founders of New York-based fashion label Public School, as the creative directors for its apparel offerings. The New York Excelsior previously collaborated with fashion brands such as Undefeated, Champion and New Era.

“Following the launch of NYXL and our new Call of Duty franchise, we’ve received a tremendous amount of support from our fans, but we recognize that New Yorkers—and gamers everywhere—are still hungry for a deeper, more meaningful connection to esports. We’re incredibly excited to launch Andbox to help people find exciting new ways to self-identify and express themselves as gamers,” Andbox co-founder Scott Wilpon said.

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