Toan Nguyen – JvM Sports – You need to tell a story

Jung von Matt is one of Germany’s most established ad agencies and, in our humble opinion, the most exciting. Via its JvM Sports arm it recently penned a deal to enter esports with a partnership via mousesports

Toan Nguyen, JvM Sports

We spoke to Toan Nguyen, Director at JvM Sports about the move from their end, why it makes sense and what ad agencies can do for esports teams and the industry at large.

Esports Insider: How long have you been looking to get into esports and how did the deal with mouz come to be?

Toan: As it happens, it was a result of a series of happy accidents!  Last summer, my girlfriend was away for a weekend so I had a lot of Netflix time. I stumbled across the documentary ‘All Work. All Play’ and thought to  myself ‘Okay, you have to get into this market!’.

“With the arrival of major players like VISA, Adidas and Audi, others are certain to follow”

I then spent a lot of time analysing and watching the market before I bumped into Cengiz (mousesports CEO Cengiz Tüylü) at a convention. The coffee was bad, but we had instant chemistry. You could say that my girlfriend pushed me into esports!

Esports Insider: Why should an established org team up with a creative agency?

Toan: There are two main reasons. For starters, we have great access to, and understanding of, non-endemic brands and can thus help mousesports acquire sponsorships in that segment. We know their products, their target groups, market and brand strategies.

“In today’s media landscape, and in esports in particular, it takes more than just sticking your logo on a team’s shirt”

Secondly, we know how to activate those sponsorships in the right way. In today’s media landscape, and in esports in particular, it takes more than just sticking your logo on a team’s shirt. It’s about creating value for sponsors, the team and the fans in terms of stories and creative work. And that’s what we excel at.  

Esports Insider: What do the terms of the deal include – what type of content can we expect?

Toan: Like I said, we will be helping mousesports find non-endemic sponsors and activate said sponsorships. We are currently in negotiations with a few potential sponsoring candidates. Much of it is currently in the early stages, but we won’t just go into the market and tell people ‘Book this media space!’. Instead, we’ll say ‘Tell this story!’.

If you look at traditional sports, you’ll see that there is still plenty room for that. There is, as yet, no such thing like ‘the game before the game’ (Beats by Dre) or ‘Thank you mom’ (P&G) for esports.

Esports Insider: In your view, is catering esports fans as a whole fundamentally different to traditional sports fans in the same age bracket?

Toan: We believe it is because esports fans are a wholly group than regular sports fans.

“We won’t just go into the market and tell people ‘Book this media space!’. Instead, we’ll say ‘Tell this story!’”

For one, it’s a much more internationally-minded scene, everyone follows the casts in English. And there is a much stronger feeling of ownership by the fans. They have helped build the esports scene from the ground up themselves and thus feel strongly about it as ‘their’ scene.This means they’re much more interested in what happens in the scene beyond individual teams or athletes than regular sports fans tend to be.

“(In esports) There is a much stronger feeling of ownership by the fans”

There is also a huge difference in what the fans are attached to. Regular sports fans mainly support teams or individual players, whereas most esports fans (57%) say that their passion is connected to the game itself. This opens up new opportunities and challenges that you wouldn’t have in traditional sports.

Esports Insider: What do you see as the next big step for the esports industry? What will the theme of 2017 be…negotiations over streaming rights looks set to play a major role? Where else do you see significant opportunity?

Toan: The negotiations for streaming rights will of course be huge, but I would guess that the overall professionalisation of the scene will continue to play a big role.

“Most esports fans (57%) say that their passion is connected to the game itself. This opens up new opportunities and challenges that you wouldn’t have in traditional sports”

Associations like WESA will continue to bind and I believe that there will be more talks about player rights and exclusivities.

Another huge factor will be the rising interest of non-endemic sponsors in the scene. With the arrival of major players like VISA, Adidas and Audi, others are certain to follow, which will mean more mainstream recognition for esports as a whole – along with some very creative and interesting activations. We are excited to see where the year takes us!