The future of esports is bright, the future of esports is? Orange has been a big supporter of the French scene for some time, and it recently extended its ties via a title sponsorship of the e-Ligue 1.
Jean-Louis Charléty is the VP of Music and Infotainment at Orange, we discussed its growth in France, non-endemic companies involvement and next week’s Esports BAR in Cannes.
Esports Insider: You recently signed a deal to title sponsor the e-ligue 1. You’re evidently big believers in the potential of FIFA’s esports scene…can and how can it become a tier 2 esports in terms of viewership and how does this sponsorship benefit Orange?
Jean-Louis Charléty: Esports and networks are inseparable; a higher ping can make you win! Streaming live competitions and replays, live commentary, voiceovers, coaching and competitions are all dependant on network quality.
“Orange is not new to esports.We’ve been sponsoring esports already for a number of years; we created the Rush eSport community and sponsor Millenium”
At Orange we believe that our fibre optic networks do the job perfectly and we intend to communicate our strong assets. With “La Fibre 100% Fibre”, Orange is the natural network supplier for esports.
Of course, Orange is not new to esports. We’ve been sponsoring esports already for a number of years; we created the Rush eSport community. This platform embodies Orange’s commitment to pro-gaming as an esports network supplier for major events throughout France. Its vocation is to make the fans fully embrae their passion and facilitate access to events, with special deals on offer and great events featuring the top French players and streamers.
We have also been the sponsor of French pro gaming organisation Millenium since September 2015. In 2017, as you mentioned, Orange also established a partnership with the LFP and the e-Ligue 1.
“Orange is the most active tele-communications company involved in the French esports scene. Sponsoring esports makes sense because innovation is at the heart of Orange’s priorities”
Through this we will support the development and promotion of e-Ligue 1 with its various platforms and with the support of its many sporting ambassadors. Training tournaments will take place in Orange boutiques.
Orange is the most active tele-communications company involved in the French esports scene. For us sponsoring esports makes sense because innovation is at the heart of Orange’s priorities, and also because the Group is already present in traditional sports as well as in video games.
Games like FIFA are going to become increasingly popular in esports and are going to grow the audience. Orange, and also TV channels, are watching these developments closely as they are becoming mainstream, and links can be found with real-life football and other sports.
Esports Insider: Many major companies are now becoming involved with teams and tournaments through sponsorship. How does this come together and what is the rationale behind this?
Jean-Louis Charléty: It has a lot to do with brand image. Esports have been seen as niche for sometime now. And it has sometimes had dubious values connected with it. Gaming used to be seen as a less than positive activity for young people and esports was considered a source of aggravation or even addiction. This is no longer the case.
“Companies now appreciate the enthusiasm and positive values conveyed by esports for their brands. The impact can of course still be dependant on the game itself with this being easier for games that have a ‘real world’ equivalent”
Esports now has a massive audience which is increasing dramatically and Orange, like many other companies, believes that esports is here to stay. Esports is now (and rightly so) appreciated as a mainstream sport, conveying the same pleasure and emotional highs and lows as traditional sports.
So yes, companies now appreciate the enthusiasm and positive values conveyed by esports for their brands. The impact can of course still be dependant on the game itself with this being easier for games that have a ‘real world’ equivalent.
Esports Insider: There is arguably no such European capital of esports to date, unlike L.A. in the States. Can Paris become the European capital? Berlin is the obvious frontrunner…
Jean-Louis Charléty: The PGW (Paris Games Week) is a major European show whose success has been growing over the years.
The 2016 edition offered 30% more space for exhibitors and the attendance was extremely satisfactory for the SELL. The fact that it happens together with a more business oriented event (the Games Connection) increases its attractiveness.
“We believe that the esports adventure is only just beginning”
We were really pleased with the last event, that included major announcements from Paris Saint Germain, Ligue de Footbal Professionnelle and Bein Sport. Esports was a particularly hot topic in Paris this year, so it’s definitely a city with vast esports potential!
Esports Insider: Why is Orange attending the Esports BAR in Cannes next month?
Jean-Louis Charléty: We believe that the esports adventure is only just beginning. Several Orange countries have expressed strong interests in this area. We are building an ecosystem together with publishers, competition owners and organisers, broadcasters and other telcos so that the esports’ impact can be maximised. This is still a market in the making and new initiatives must be encouraged.
Esports Insider: What else does Orange have planned for engaging with esports fans this year?
Jean-Louis Charléty: Orange has a strong presence in Africa. Our first ‘Orange football club eSports’ took place in January as a complement to our sponsorship of the ‘Coupe d’Afrique des Nations 2017’ that ended in early February.
This was the first esports cup in Africa and it involved seven Orange countries on the continent plus Gabon. The final took place in Libreville the day before the “real” final.
It was very successful and this is going to be continued and enhanced throughout 2017. We can clearly see that eFootball has a notably high adrenaline potential, just as real football does. We love it!
Disclaimer: We are an official media partner of the Esports BAR in Cannes.