Esports is rightly seen as a data rich environment due to the digital nature of the industry. This makes it very appealing to technology companies coming in to work with teams and competitions but how well is it being used and what opportunities remain?
Teams have access to their players data whilst the platforms and organisers gain insights into fans, whether that be online or in person. But the packaging and how that data is then being shared is still something that needs to be improved upon.
During the esports panel that took place at December’s SQN event in London, James Forster from Fnatic was quite open about the work that still needs to be done in the industry;
“We need to start working more closely within esports as an ecosystem with data sharing because I think that’s one of things in which we fall down on the most. Twitch has access to this data, ESL probably has access to all this data, we have access to all of our data, but it’s very much segmented.
I THINK WE HAVE A WAY TO GO IN TERMS OF WORKING TOGETHER TO BUILD OUT WHAT THE TOTAL OFFERING IS WITHIN ESPORTS RATHER THAN IT BEING YOU’RE A TEAM, YOU’RE AN EVENT, YOU’RE A SPONSOR. WE NEED TO PACKAGE THEM TOGETHER.”James Forster, Fnatic
It doesn’t help the industry when statements are made about the commercial value of esports without all the right data being used to come to those conclusions. ESL UK Marketing Director Heather Dower showcases a prime example of this; a 2018 report claimed that the average NBA fan was worth about $76 a month, whilst an esports fan of the same demographic and share of wallet was worth $7.
“But is that true? What data set were they using to get that data?…. you’ve not got any of our data so where are you getting that from to make that claim? And that can be damaging sometimes.”Heather Dower, former Marketing Director, ESL UK
There is an admission that despite the huge amount of data available to the industry, they still don’t do a good job in packaging it up in a way that brands understand. What is the value of the eyeballs they’re getting and how do they then compete with performance advertising where brands know exactly what they’ll be getting?
Partnerships do offer something unique though, and storytelling is one of the most valuable attributes that it delivers. An example of this being Microsoft’s partnership with one of the largest teams in the world – Cloud9, The tech giant developed an AI technology that helped scan the data to help deliver better performance by the team – not only producing improved results but also creating an invaluable story that Microsoft and Cloud9 could tell.