April 12, 2022

SponsorPulse Staff

Opportunities Abound: Sponsorship in the eSports Industry

A burgeoning industry, eSports continue to grow in popularity. Find out how you can leverage audience insights & purchase behavior to reach eSports fans in the US through sponsorship.

eSports is a burgeoning industry with a global audience. Once decried by skeptics as merely hype, eSports, or competitive gaming, gained rapid momentum through the years via streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming.

According to Insider Intelligence, there will be 29.6 million monthly eSports viewers in the US alone this year, up 11.5% from 2021. The industry has seen a quantum leap in investment from venture capitalists to private equity firms, with projects forecasting that the eSports ecosystem will surpass $1 billion in revenue this year. 

eSports has proven itself as a global industry with staying power. While the North American market is rapidly developing, League of Legends, a popular eSports game, is China’s top property and Germany’s third-ranked property. With that in mind, it’s evident that eSports is a fierce competitor amongst major global sports that have been around for decades. 

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that at SponsorPulse, we found that among over 500 properties, eSports was poised second-highest for growth. Throughout our research and data analysis, we’ve uncovered key insights about eSport audience demographics that have allowed our users to make a lasting impact in the sponsorship space. Here’s what we’ve found:

Tuning in: eSports Audience Demographics

At any sports stadium, you can find people of various demographics coming together to do the wave. eSports, however, has a niche global audience with distinct characteristics. The majority of engaged eSports fans, 40%, are male, with 25 to 39-year-olds engaging with increased intensity.

Chart depicting audience age and gender of more engaged eSports consumers

These unique fans defy stereotypical societal expectations. The false notion that individuals interested in gaming are unmotivated and living in their parents' basement couldn’t be further from the truth. Reality check: eSports fans are successful professionals, and 49% of the cohort who engage on a weekly basis earn over $100K a year. 

Chart depicting household income of most engage eSports audience.

These demographic markers denote the influence that the eSports audience wields over marketing executives globally. 

Purchase Power: Brands the eSports Audience Loves

eSports fans engage heavily with brands that cater to an affluent lifestyle, like Audi and Mercedes. Naturally, these brands have taken note. Audi, for instance, dove headfirst into the world of sponsorship by partnering with the eSports organization FOKUS CLAN. The goal? Position themselves as an authentic partner in the professional gaming space over the long term. 

Mercedes, on the other hand, sponsors its own eSports team, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team. Through the partnership, Mercedes helped fund Brackley, a purpose-built eSports training centre that provides the team’s gamers with world-class facilities and state of the art equipment to assist in skill development, training and competitions. 

But automotive isn’t the only industry with ties to the eSports world. Fashion powerhouse Louis Vuitton has additionally made waves in the eSports space, proving just how welcoming the community can be. The fashion giant launched the LVxLoL collection in collaboration with Riot Games, the developers of eSports favourite League of Legends. The collection, which sold out in a staggering one hour, consisted of bespoke branded shirts, trousers, parkas, shoes, and fun accessories.

Sponsorship in the eSports space has proved lucrative to those who wade into its waters, as the eSports audience possesses the purchasing power to support the companies that display loyalty to the teams they love to support.

Untapped: Sponsorship Opportunities by the Numbers

While savvy CMOs have been pooling resources into the eSports space for years, there are a wide range of industries SponsorPulse has identified that have untapped sponsorship potential:

Here’s the data on Americans who’ve engaged with eSports in the last 12 months:

  • Online Dating: From apps to web subscriptions, 53% of dating app or site users have engaged with eSports. 
  • Finance + Investing: Connecting back to their strong socioeconomic standing, 51% who’ve invested $25,000 or more in the last 12-months, and 52% who’ve switched their banking institution are eSports fans.
  • Homeownership: In the same vein, 49% of new home or condo purchasers have engaged with eSports.
  • Cannabis: A burgeoning industry of its own, 40% who are interested in purchasing it have also engaged with eSports.
  • Auto Tires: eSports fans live life in the fast lane, and 36% of Americans who have bought new tires for a vehicle also watch eSports.
A chart depicting the purchase category and habits of engaged eSports audiences in the US.

The SponsorPulse Competitive Edge

At SponsorPulse, we produce meaningful change by providing our users with actionable insights about the sponsorship space. Sports. Music. Entertainment. Lifestyle. Cause. We’re the first global sponsorship intelligence platform to provide one score that instantly measures and compares thousands of properties across consumer passion points. 

Request a demo today to learn more about how SponsorPulse can help your brand uncover the next best sponsorship opportunity. 

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Opportunities Abound: Sponsorship in the eSports Industry

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