The esports industry continues to go from strength to strength. Despite humble beginnings, the international gaming sector is now worth an estimated $1.38 billion. By 2025, annual revenues are set to surge beyond $1.8 billion. The most prolific S-Tier esports players can look forward to seven-figure salaries. Meanwhile, the most successful esports teams can command sponsorship deals that exceed the $100 million mark. However, to achieve these dizzying heights, an esports team needs to set itself apart from the competition.
Great Teams Attract the Best Talent
When we talk about talent, we’re not necessarily referring to the best-ranked players on the planet. Admittedly, the likes of OG Esports have attracted some of the finest Dota 2 players of all time. Currently, Johan “N0tail” Sundstein serves on the team roster, with this Danish player having amassed a career fortune of more than $7.1 million. While top-ranked players can help take a team to glory, some teams look elsewhere in the hunt for fresh blood. For example, Sentinels turned to the streaming community when looking for new players to join their lineup. While Twitch streamers rarely compare in ability to competitive gamers, they do bring millions of subscribers with them.
A Good Team Engages with Fans
Once an S-Tier team locks down sponsorship, it’s easy to forget about the fans. However, a great esports organization understands how important a loyal audience is. Smaller esports teams are particularly savvy when it comes to engaging their followers. The likes of Natus Vincere are hardly circling the drain in the little leagues anymore, but they still commit to keeping their fans in the loop via social media channels. Whether it’s direct responses to fan questions or a steady stream of competitions, fan engagement is crucial in building and maintaining a successful esports brand.
Branding and Merchandise
Just about every major esports team now has an online shop selling branded merchandise. While this helps secure additional revenues for team operations, it’s also a great way of establishing brand identity and building awareness. With more brands throwing sponsorship money at esports team, expect even more merchandising opportunities to emerge in the next few years.
As with traditional sports, the most loyal of fans will stick with an esports team through thick and thin. However, esports is a rapidly evolving industry, with new teams and games arriving all the time. A few ill-judged transfers can derail a team and send them plunging to the lower ranks of professional competition.
Although more broadcasters are waking up to the appeal of esports, only the biggest events tend to receive substantial coverage. If someone can’t actively watch the latest CSGO live score unfold, they’re not going to commit to a team in the long run.
Additionally, the esports sector has now created a thriving betting market. As with soccer, tennis, and basketball, fans can wager on the outcomes of the biggest tournaments. If their beloved teams aren’t represented in the betting markets, this is just one more reason to throw in the towel and look elsewhere for a lineup to support.