Last week, as part of our Taylor Grant program, I attended the Largardère Sports Esports Rising conference, which brings the biggest names in the industry to Los Angeles to learn about everything going on in the gaming world and discuss the state of esports. The conference featured a full day of insider panels and a tour of Riot Games, one of the world’s largest gaming developers.

 

 

Here are the top 10 things to know from the conference:

 

  1. Estimated audience size for esports in 2017 was 335 million, and by 2021, that number is expected to hit 644 million, according to NewZoo. But the real opportunity for brands is in gaming, where the audience will hit 2.7 billion at that same time.
  2. Average Minute Audience has become a gold standard statistic for measuring stream success. The League of Legends World Championship earlier this month set the record with 19.6 million AMA.
  3. When asked what categories of brands have not yet embraced esports/gaming, the panels had two main responses: Healthcare and Financial Services.
  4. The most-discussed non-endemic brand partnership of the conference was Louis Vuitton’s LoL deal, highlighted by the trophy case they created similar to the FIFA World Cup.
  5. 50% of investment into esports is with the top 10 esports organizations (by Forbes valuation), however, in just the past year alone, two of 2018’s Top 10 valued companies have disappeared, either by merger or folding entirely.
  6. Mobile Gaming revenues are at $70 billion, which is the largest segment of the gaming industry, driven mostly from both the growth/evolution of non-casual games in the space and the greater accessibility now that smartphones are so prevalent.
  7. On average, the mobile gaming audience has twice as many females as PC gaming (roughly 30-15%), and in China, as high as 60% of audiences for mobile gaming championships are Gen Z females.
  8. Speaking of younger generations, a few quick facts about U.S. youth (14-34, source: Largardère Plus):
    1. 66% of the generation say that technology makes it impossible to be bored
    2. They spend as much time watching TV as they do gaming
    3. 74% consider esports to be “a real sport”
  9. The most surprising fact for many of the brand representatives present at the conference was that the fans who watch streamers WANT to be advertised to because it helps their favorite personality get paid. Twitch viewers know that when they see ads roll or product integration, the leader of the community they are a part of is being supported, and they will thank the brand in the comments or on social.
  10. The biggest potential positive impact for scholastic esports was that high schools and colleges promoting esports/gaming not only can validate the space so future generations see it as an option, but they can also teach students how to behave online and eliminate the stigma of toxicity that still exists across titles.

 

Bonus: For so long, those engrained in traditional sports have called esports an activity for kids in their basement. Well congrats, because now the gaming industry has a derisive term for those sports: “Stick and Ball Sports.”