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Esports, a gateway to Asia

Esports, a gateway to Asia

Part five of our mini-series on the ever expanding world of esports looks into how Asia is the dominant force when it comes to competitive gaming, and how this could present an opportunity for brands thinking about getting involved. 

In 2018, it was estimated that roughly 50% of the global esports viewership was from China, where the industry is more mature and esports have been part of the culture for longer. In Western nations, esports is developing but doesn’t yet attract the same amount of stadium or online support.

Having such a following in Asia, esports offers brands not based in the region a viable way of building their reputation quickly without necessarily needing to have representation in the region.

For brands seriously looking at esports, the choice of title to get involved with is critical as it will impact on which region you gain exposure in. For example, Fortnite is huge globally but doesn’t enjoy anywhere near the same popularity in China or South Korea that more traditional titles such as Dota2 or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) do. Although games such as Fortnite grab the attention of mainstream Western media, there is still a long way to go.

Another difference between esports in Asia and Western nations is that we cover esports in the same way as we do a traditional sporting event. In Asia they are presented in a different way by concentrating more on entertainment, which is very engaging for fans and attractive as a sponsorship opportunity. 

In 2018 Intel utilised the Winter Olympics coming to South Korea. And with the world’s eyes on such a global event they hosted the Intel Extreme Masters Pyeongchang with the world’s best StarCraft II players competing for a chance to win the title and part of a $150,000 prize pool. 

For 2020 the partnership with the IOC is being extended with the announcement of the Intel World Open. It takes place ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games with Streetfighter and Rocket League championships being fought for. An opportunity other brands will be looking closely at. 

In part six we look at the experiential opportunities esports affords brands that other sectors would struggle to compete with. 

Read the previous article on sports and more by heading to