There was a time where esports ownership would fall into two categories: die-hard fans or die-hard fans who actually had a lot of money in their pocket.
Now though, we have seen the rise in celebrities getting involved with the likes of Drake, Shaquille O’Neal, The Weeknd, J-Lo, and Michael Jordan investing in teams. However, a new form of celebrity has begun making moves in esports, the internet celebrity. This is precisely what Snapchat and YouTube star Shaun “Shonduras” McBride did, and so Spacestation Gaming was born.
With the backing from Shonduras and a ready-made army of fans, Spacestation Gaming’s birth was a little more straightforward than many others. This, however, doesn’t diminish their already-impressive resume, but rather enhances it. They are already partnered with the likes of HyperX, Vertagear, UberEats, and on the NBA side, Utah Jazz. There is no doubt that thanks to Shonduras, Spacestation Gaming has some of the slickest and most engaging content of any team around.
Shaun will be joining us for #ESINYC and will be part of the ‘Marketing in Esports, Past, Present and Future’ panel alongside Chad de Luca, Head of Gaming & Esports, Publicis Media, Sport & Entertainment, Simon Bennett, Co-Founder/CEO, AoE Creative and Eunice Chen, VP of Marketing, Cloud9. We caught up with Shaun ahead of his appearance to find out why he got involved, and esports can do better with their marketing.
Esports Insider: What made you decide to get into esports, and why did you get involved in such a hands-on capacity?
Shaun “Shonduras” McBride: Esports was something we had started watching and talking about around the office.
After a couple of months, I began to understand the potential of competitive gaming and wanted to build an organisation that was hyper-focused on engaging with their community.
The concept was similar to how a creator builds and releases content specific to their audience, and our success thus far has been deeply rooted in our community and the way we interact with them on social media.
ESI: How important is it for an organisation to have its own identity and voice in esports?
SM: I think every organisation strives to have its own identity and voice, and the ones that can figure that out are the ones that find success.
Being able to figure that out comes from a unique strategy and dedication or is built over time. Looking at Spacestation Gaming, for example, we didn’t have the time invested that other organisations already had, so we went all-in on a posting cadence, a voice that was similar to many social media influencers.
“We focus on telling the narrative of our teams through unique content”
We focus on telling the narrative of our teams through unique content because we realise that our community won’t necessarily watch or understand every game and scene we compete in, but regardless should still enjoy the content and support the team. Our creative approach to content and social enables that.
ESI: Spacestation Gaming has certainly carved out its own avenue when it comes to content, how does your background in creating video content help with both your creative input and management of the organisation?
SM: The creative team at Spacestation Gaming carries years of experience in social strategy. Together we have built YouTube channels, run global social media campaigns, and helped launch several companies.
What we have learnt from these experiences has definitely helped mould Spacestation Gaming, and the team looks at esports as an opportunity to evolve and push the standard of content.
ESI: How are esports business conferences, such as ESI New York, important in your role as an org owner? Why did you choose to get involved in an ESI event?
SM: Conferences actually helped me start Spacestation Gaming. I spoke everywhere I could as I built my personal brand, no speaking fee, just to get me in front of the right people.
Events are where you can meet best friends and your best contacts. This passion for events has actually led to me being part owner in a social media conference called Vid Summit, so of course if given that opportunity to speak somewhere like ESI New York it’s a full send.
“Brands should look for a long term partner that will tell their story in the gaming space through content and narratives being shared by their players”
ESI: Do you think esports is being fully utilised as a marketing tool by agencies and brands? We’re seeing more and more significant brands enter the space in some capacity.
SM: Esports marketing has a long way to go. I have watched social media marketing evolve over the past six years and will continue to watch it evolve for the next 60 years.
Esports is at a very early stage with brands and marketing, and if a partnership is done correctly, esports can be a very engaged and supportive audience. On the other hand, if it’s done incorrectly, a brand will see no return and leave the partnership with a bad experience.
Unfortunately, in the two years I’ve been involved with esports I have seen many brands get burned from a non-reciprocal partnership and it hurts the esports industry as a whole.
Brands should look for a long term partner that will tell their story in the gaming space through content and narratives being shared by their players.
“I think every organisation strives to have its own identity and voice, and the ones that can figure that out are the ones that find success”
ESI: What are the key aspects of your organisation that you’ll be concentrating on in the next few years?
SM: Spacestation Gaming will continue to focus all the important things we mentioned above while also looking for any small opportunity that could turn into a big one.
Small opportunities for an organisation like ours can be a new streamer, team, collaboration, partnership, or expansion in any direction that is unique.
When you really care about those small opportunities, that’s when they can become big ones, and that’s where the W is for SSG.
ESI NYC is brought to you by:Find out more about our event partners here
Register for ESI New York