Flash back on the 8 week ReStart Live Series

Today,  Conversation Highlights of the 5th LIVE: "China's Gaming & Esports: Unlocking a Pandemic Opportunity" with Axa China, Tencent Trusted Doctors and The Care Voice, which took place April 8

  "China's Gaming and eSports : Unlocking a Pandemic Opportunity"  
With: LAGARDERE SPORTS, CULTURE GROUP, NEWZOO

“ Gaming earns a lot of money but gaming has been successful because it chases engagement and it has innovated itself to then monetize that in all kinds of new ways ”
Peter WARMAN, CEO and Co-founder, NEWZOO

There are three types of perspectives in the gaming industry:

    • The business perspective: “ Everyone should realize that the games business is usually successful. It's an enormous business that generated 160 billion dollars this year. That's more than that of professional sports business: The business of esports is still relatively small, but the engagement that esports has, is enormous. ”This perspective evolved quickly: famous celebrities, tennis stars participating in a Mario tennis tournament, couldn’t happen a few months ago.
    • The historical/trend perspective: the gaming industry experiences a huge leap in terms of innovations every five years : Online Gaming > Mobile > Free-to-play, esports>…
      Chinese studios are at the center of a genre convergence. Two of three recent global mobile game successes (Archero and Call of duty mobile) were developped by chinese studios. “Chinese studios and game developers pioneered a lot of business models that we have migrated to in the West. ”
    • The consumer perspective: “ The types of people that the game business entertains has broadened out enormously “. There are many personas of gamers and they don’t all play games. 40% of all esport enthusiasts don’t play the game they follow. They spend gaming budget in merchandising.
      Watch Newzoo gamer segmentation: 13”20 → 14”20

Covid-19 highlights social aspect of gaming : Gaming is much more than entertainment. For many, it is where they socialize, communicate and play. But “ it takes more than a year for big brands to move into this space. It shows how careful and shy companies are, and that it takes time for them to understand this space and define actions ”

Games that have known the bigger boost in terms of gaming or viewership during this Covid-19 crisis are the one that have a lot of social aspect.

“ Even though China's still kind of climbing up the hill, but the whole economic scale of the Esports market in China actually consists almost 50% of the global Esports revenue. ”
Melody LI, Director Corporate Partnership, LAGARDERE SPORTS (now SPORTFIVE)

The Gaming and esport ecosystem between APAC and the West is a broad topic that can be covered through 5 perspectives :

  • Business : While the European esport market is still trying to capture the attention of brands, in China, the competition for the top game broadcasting rights is getting more and more intense. The China exclusive regional broadcasting rights of the “League of Legends” World series was sold for 800 million RMB for 3 years (113 million $US)
  • Capital: Last year, the starting bidding price for one LPL spot approximately equaled 90 million RMB. The commercialization level of the league is about to upgrade in the upcoming season. In the West, Astralis Group became the first esport Team that went public.
  • Tournament : LPL (League of Legend Pro League) was the first of professional leagues that decided to switch to online matches, and it turns out that it was a huge success. 
  • Game: ‘Valorant’ an other game developped by Riot (like LoL) is trending among e-sport enthousiasme in Western Countries.
  • Market: By 2020 the global revenues of e-sport market will reach 1.1 Billion USD (48% of which is APAC)

Watch 5 perspectives in detail: 17”10 → 20”50

- SK telecom / T1 / BMW case study 

SKTelecom's T1 esport and 4 other teams (G2 Esports, Fnatic, FunPlus Phoenix, Cloud9) has signed a partnership agreement with the BMW Group. This is the first sponsorship that BMW has signed with a Korean sports team. Adrian Staiti (Lagardere Sport APAC managing director) said: “BMW will get to enjoy exceptional levels of brand exposure while cultivating a brand preference among younger audiences through bespoke content creation and meaningful social engagement opportunities with T1 fans. At the same time, T1 will also gain access to world-class technology and design” 

BMW’s connection with esports actually began long before this global 5-team partnership with the exclusive mandate of the sponsorship rights of the EU LCS. 

Watch Lagardere Sports role in the partnership: 24”13 → 26”10 

Last year during the T1 China Tour, Lagardere Sports helped connect T1 with Shanghai esports Masters, Faker (a key player) was invited to show presence on-site. " We helped T1 conduct a comprehensive T1 China tour with the involvement of two of their key players, Faker and Teddy." Lagardere sports helped T1 partner with the world’s leading sports apparel brand, Nike.

" Lagardère Sports initiated and organized the FIFA20 esports friendly match between German club FC Augsburg and Chinese club Taizhou FC, one week before the return of the Bundesliga, to bring back the joy of football to all the fans " which took place on May 9th.

“ My perspective of where the future lies with Esports not just as a competitive world, but also a lifestyle element which can draw more audiences around. ”
Ajay JILKA, Business Director, CULTURE GROUP

Culture Group a year ago, was the lead executive in forging the strategic partnership between NIKE Greater China and the League of Legends Esports Property (LPL), representing Riot Games and Tencent: the first venture from Nike on a League basis in Esports globally.
A partnership on Lifestyle apparel and footwear, including consumer facing products. NIKE will celebrate LPL teams the same way they do in other leading sports League like the NBA.
“ This is a non-traditional sponsorship akin to traditional stick&ball sports given the fact that Esports is inherently digital, so integration with in-game items also formed a major part together with unique content and storytelling around the athletes. ”

Globally, Esports requires leadership hence why you’re seeing greater structure around Federations with the appointment of very senior executives to the Global Esports Federation. This is the same when it comes to legitimizing esport as a sport, and the best way to do that is through partnering with a category leader like NIKE. Thus, it’s not a traditional sponsorship, rather a marriage of two globally iconic brands that together will create the future look and style of esports

Furthermore, “We noticed that at the nexus of esports and the spectatorship, there was the emergence of a street wear culture in China, which we’re obviously seeing right now” ; “We  found out that there was the emergence of new cultural heroes and sporting heroes, which were gamers at the time.” 

There is a growing body of evidence supporting the relevance of these partnerships.

“ Brands need to understand that, if you are at the first stage of that process, navigating that ecosystem. There's only a few people and organizations actually making money out of games. And those are the people that own the IP and develop the games themselves. (…) The developers themselves known as the IP don't necessarily know how to work with brands and the brand don't know how to navigate that ecosystem. So that why there's a massive opportunity in the market. ”

Nike Case Study: 37”40 → 41”05

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