May 12, 2020

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

by Jakob Lund Kristensen, CCO & Co-founder, Astralis Group

It is indeed a strange time in the world of esports. On one hand, we are experiencing an unprecedented and severe global crisis with deep economic consequences for most businesses and industries. This has an effect on new partnerships and it makes physical activation and live events impossible, which impacts merchandise sales etc. 

On the other hand, our core product is thriving and growing at a significant rate. We are witnessing an unpreceded upswing in viewership numbers, online engagement, followers across all channels, and the general exposure of our brands and commercial partners. With many people being stuck at home, having more leisure time available and zero sports to watch, esports has taken a step onto the grand stage, and the move into the mainstream has been accelerated.

Viewership and own media

Viewership numbers have increased across the board. This goes for all categories in which we are involved and as an example, the recent Pro League (Counter-Strike) beat all previous records.

Video Plays: + 118%

Hours Watched: + 160%

Peak Concurrent Viewers: + 25%

Average view time/viewer: + 30% 

We see the same tendency LEC (League of Legends) and even though our FIFA players are mostly playing private tournaments and friendlies, the positive development is even more significant.

For media channels under Astralis Group all relevant numbers show significant increases. Average Jan-Feb 2020 vs average Mar-Apr 2020, all channels*:

Followers: + 11%

Engagement: + 380%

Reach: + 220%

Views: + 191%

* Numbers are not directly comparable, as the number of matches and tournaments played each month are not completely identical. 

Now is the time!

Short term all indicators point towards continued growth in core numbers and exposure. This will contribute to an increased fanbase, increased media interest, and earned media exposure and ultimately a stronger foundation under our brands. As the markets open up and as global brands are adjusting marketing and sponsor budgets to the new reality, we expect a stronger focus on digital media and online activation of sponsorships and commercial partnerships. 

I am no expert in pandemics, but I do expect that live activation and -events will be affected at least throughout the year, and the quest will be to continue the development of online products and promotion.

If you ever considered trying out esport marketing, now is the time. Never has the amount of viewers and attention been higher, never has the amount of competing budgets been lower. Pure visibility and exposure are certainly relevant, but the key is finding the partnerships that are driven by values and measurable, actual integration. 

The challenges are obvious, the pandemic is still roaring, but we need to continue focussing on the positives: A growing global, engaged, and active fanbase combined with a solid mainstream interest. 

- Jakob Lund Kristensen, CCO & Co-founder, Astralis Group