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Evolving eSports and the Emotional Connection Through Storytelling

CRAVE attended the Cynopsis World eSports Summit in New York City last week where industry players, executives, and brands came together to discuss the future of maximizing and monetizing the world of competitive gaming, otherwise known as eSports.

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The eSports space is a rapidly growing market ripe with engaged Millennials, and marketers are taking notice to its more than $1B in annual revenue. But for the industry to realize its potential in the mainstream where casual viewing audiences make up a majority of the viewer base, we believe it needs to align itself with a holistic approach and achieve greater parity with traditional sports.

Leagues need to increase visibility of the teams and individuals that make eSports possible. Viewers are hungry for a more personal look into the daily lives of eTeam athletes and the rigorous training regimens they undergo leading up to game day. Through greater storytelling, viewers will be more emotionally invested and have a more tangible relationship with their favorite games, further encouraging engagement with teams, brands, and athletes on social media. Just like with sports, fierce competition is a cornerstone for eSports. Establishing regional or college rivalries, and larger-scale themes (i.e. AVGL’s March Madness-esque April Anarchy), are paramount for leveraging emotional investment to drum up anticipation on a global scale.

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Many eSports players have a greater social presence than individual professional athletes from the world’s most popular sports, with massive Twitter and Twitch user bases. The eSports industry is new and still undergoing rapid evolution but has demonstrated incredible promise that is yet to be satisfied.

At the Cynopsis World eSports Summit, we learned that larger entities, such as the NBA and NFL are exploring eSports team offshoots of their traditional franchises, and additional TV networks are organizing primetime television events in hopes of addressing key concerns and further evolving the personal connection with the viewership.

As additional avenues are considered, marketers will have more ways to interact with consumers at an ever-growing scale – and we couldn’t be more excited for the future of the eSports and the supporting organizations. We, too, will be supporting this evolution and will have news to share soon from our very own as we delve into eSports in an editorial capacity.