True potential: advertising in esports

Gone are the days where video games were created for a tiny niche market and relegated to the last shelf on the bottom right in the stores – now video games have become completely mainstream and can be found anywhere from schools to rehabilitation centres. The target audience has changed as well – there are now video games targeted at just about anyone and everyone, and with that particular change in demographics, it wasn’t long before companies started to use the incredible potential for advertising revenue in gaming.


© BMW | Markus Sebek

One of the most profitable niches here is advertising in esports – a billion-dollar-market already and growing, they have long since drawn in advertising investors that have nothing to do with gaming whatsoever – from car dealers to insurance companies. While at first this type of investor was rare, their numbers have increased significantly since it became obvious that esports only have one way to go: Up. According to Deloitte market research in Germany, by 2020 the esports market in the country will be worth 130 million euros – that would make it the most popular sport in the country, bypassing Hocket and Basketball.

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Why is esports advertising so effective?

The reason this relatively new advertising strategy works, and works well is that it allows advertisers to reach audiences normally out of their reach – this is especially true when it comes to Millennials and those younger than them. These groups make up a large part of the esports audience and they are notoriously difficult to target with advertising. Of course, that’s not all – esports advertising also allows companies more ‘individualised’ advertising. Logos for example, can be placed just about anywhere from pro players jerseys to their chairs, headsets or anything in between (short of the actual players – so far at least!)

Another popular advantage of this strategy is popularity by association: Companies use their involvement in esports to make themselves more appealing and interesting to younger audiences. Some companies invest into esports with this goal in mind in particular – one such example is the package delivery company DHL that earlier this year partnered with the ESL One in order to refresh their image a little.


© Pringles | ESL

They aren’t the only ones either – from Gillette, Pringles, Adidas and Airbus to T-mobile, Dr. Pepper and Nissan, there’s no shortage of outside investors that help add to the huge market that esports have already become. Another such company is Mercedes-Benz.

“We firmly believe that this […] involvement will complement our existing sports sponsoring activities with an eye on the future and that it will allow us to make contact with a very interesting, new target group,” said Dr. Jens Thiemer, Vice President Marketing Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars when announcing the cooperation between the car company and ESL One.

Even a brewery has gotten in on it all – Warsteiner brewery has a sponsorship agreement with ESL until 2020 that includes the agreement to sell Warsteiner products during ESL formats. “Here we have the opportunity to inspire a digital target group and present our brand in a new environment,” says Brand Director Marcus Wendel of the Warsteiner brewery about the decision.