IAA Swiss and Austria Chapter hold webinar on E-Sports

Around 500 million people worldwide watch Esports tournaments via live stream or on TV, thus offering brands a powerful platform for sponsorship and the placement of advertising messages. The second international webinar on the joint initiative of IAA UK, IAA Switzerland and IAA Austria illuminated the large field of esports from different perspectives, but above all with regard to its application in the MarCom industry.

Webinar with highly international professionals

The interesting webinar was moderated by Fredrik Borestrom , IAA President UK and head of Agencies International at LinkedIn. Claire Blackwood from France (International Account Director hurray.agency, esports marketing agency), Robbie Douek from Great Britain (CEO BLAST, esports tournament organizer), Marco Harfmann from Austria (Director Transformation & Marketing Communications A1) and Nate Lindberg (RVP Sponsorship Twitch,  Live Streaming - video portal ) discussed lively and with the active participation of around 100 webinar participants.

Key takeaways from the session

Can exports replace traditional sport?

Especially in times of crisis, the world of traditional sports is a welcome change and distraction, but what to do if the cancellation is canceled due to COVID-19, tournaments, leagues and even the Olympic Games are postponed? Can Esports offer a replacement here? It seems to be an unstoppable phenomenon with enormous marketing potential - especially but not only - for a young target group. The popularity of esports is growing at an extremely high speed and with a remarkable detail on the side: almost a third of the participants are women, and the trend is rising. The players and spectators come from all over the world, Esports works both online and offline, attracts tens of thousands of fans to the stadiums, but - as is currently the case - can be converted immediately to purely digital.

Esports offers brands great potential

“I call Esports the world's largest marketing niche and I see great potential for brands that want to get involved. However, a particularly good and strong strategy is required, there must be a real passion between sponsor, players and spectators, because athletes have a very fine feeling whether someone is serious or not. Ideally, you start with small actions and increase your engagement over time and grow into the cause. "

Claire Blackwood, Hurray.Agency

“Authenticity is extremely important. We at A1 were interested in sponsoring Esports years ago, because we recognized that a target group can be reached here that can hardly be addressed via "normal" media channels. In the absence of an Austrian esports scene that we could have sponsored, we decided to set up our own league. As an A1 brand, we took a step back and focused on esports to gain a foothold here. Well-known brands such as McDonalds, which have made their new delivery service known here, or Mercedes, are among our sponsoring partners. Commitment is the key to success, simply placing a logo is not enough, the community is too well networked for that. ”

Marco Harfmann, A1 Telekom Austria

Is Esports perceived as a sport by the target group?

The experts agree that Esports athletes must be in good physical and psychological condition to be able to hold these tournaments. “In Esports there is no gender segregation or any age group, here equality is actually lived and as always it is a question of the right balance. Those who practice extreme sports are not really doing their health any good, and those who play on the computer all day are also not good, ”says Nate Lindberg. Marco Harfmann adds: “Responsible gambling is important. Esports promotes team spirit and concentration, you have to adapt to new situations and people in the shortest possible time, skills that are also of immense importance in professional life. ” 

Which target groups can be reached? 

Due to the increased in-house time due to Covid 19, older target groups are now also interested in and involved in esports, opening the door even further for use in the MarCom industry.

“Even if the target groups are very demanding, a brand does not have to bend to establish itself in esports. It is important that you work with the right partners and that it is not a one-off campaign, because the community is looking for reliable long-term partners. "

Nate Lindberg, Twitch

“A lot is happening at the moment, even if no physical events are possible, it can be a great experience to do it purely online. The audience comes from all over the world - participation in China and Russia is massive, followed by Europe. Of course, that means a lot of organization and heavy investments in technology. Esports is entertainment and for brands and media the situation in this environment is still very good - for organizers only the ticket revenue is lost.

Robbie Douek, BLAST

Esports has grown in importance in the marketing mix

“It is actually a very skeptical audience, a completely new customer generation, one that can also adapt very well to the corona crisis. Until now, the use of esports in the marketing mix has been a “nice to have”, but it has now become extremely important. People want to do it online, at least if they can't measure themselves or watch competitions in the real world. Just like traditional sports, there are amateurs and professionals in Esports. However, those who watch the Champions League on TV, for example, do not want to see the same thing in esport, so the focus is more on fantasy leagues, we do not see any correlation here, ”says  Nate Lindberg .

Covid-19 pressed the reset button, so to speak, there is a change in dynamics, a disruption. Those who can adapt quickly have a clear advantage.