The Esports revolution already took off and it seems to be waiting for no one. A number of tradition sports leagues are beginning to catch on to this fact. As it stands, the NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB and NASCAR are venturing into the Esports space in a bid to appeal to younger audiences. It is no longer surprising to hear of traditional sports ventures into Esports but we are definitely excited about seeing how they will implement it.
Many of these leagues and collegiate programs have opted to integrate Esports into their business models. These integration efforts range from interactive contests to fan experiences or ticket sales for events that are designed to bring younger audiences closer to traditional sports. However, while this has paid off for some hopeful Esports investors, all of them do not share the same level of success.
NBA’s approach is by far one of the most followed in Esports. The league chose to partner with NBA 2K and thus there have been very clear tie-ins between the two – the NBA teams provide the infrastructure for their Esports counterparts. The NBA has taken a less regional approach in promoting its Esports league and this is definitely going to create a very interesting dynamic as the league grows. How the NBA 2K League plays out once it kicks off will determine the establishment of future leagues for other gaming titles such as FIFA and Madden.
But what have the others done?
During the Dayton 500 race weekend, NASCAR got to partner with 704Games and Esports Arena Drive in order to bring NASCAR Heat Champions to Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR’s interest in Esports is almost natural owing to the fact that it has an older and a wide fan base of about 58 years for television viewers.
During the Dayton 500 race weekend, the NASCAR fans who attended got a chance to win prizes while playing NASCAR Heat 2. This mostly oozed of an independent activation feel and seemed to be more of a showcase for new mobile arena instead of a NASCAR-run. Regardless, the activation is off to a great start and if everything goes well it will grace NASCAR with more ticket sales on non-race days while at the same time giving them a piece of the younger audience that everyone is desperately trying to get a hold of.
One of the most recent developments in college basketball as far as Esports is concerned is the move by two different NCAA basketball conferences to jump into the Esports add-on world. Mountain West Conference and Horizon League, the two conferences, therefore effectively tied their championships to events.
According to Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson, “Globally, Esports is enjoying a boom in popularity – particularly among young people who are in the same age bracket as the students on our campuses. We are also seeing universities add Esports programming, technology and business to their curriculum offerings.”
Both conferences have organized tournaments that are considered to be extensively valid moves towards making college programs formed at universities more acceptable. Most of them are still run by students making such support vital to their survival and prosperity.