Yesterday marked the end of Esports Insider’s online conferences in 2020, with ESI Digital Winter closing its virtual doors.
However, just in case people missed some of the action we have collated the biggest talking points from the final day to ensure that everybody is up to speed with the current topics being discussed in the esports industry.
Also, if you wish to see a recap of ESI Digital Winter day one then click here.
Esports in 2020: Investment Overview
Kicking off day two was an in-depth discussion regarding investment in esports over the course of the year. The panel of experts delved into various topics such as the value of esports to both endemic and non-endemic investors and the current state of play in 2020.
Spike Laurie, the Head of Sales, Marketing and Business Development at Prize Payments, summed up the esports landscape following the global health pandemic. “We’ve seen a lot of businesses pivot, changing the way they operate, looking more at grassroots and the framework of esports, small-scale tournaments, with plans to get back to where we were,” he said.
“It’s a hard time for companies running live events. It’s also been a really difficult time for startups; a lot of startups have promise, but they don’t have the opportunity to chat at events like this and spread the word of their product or business.”
The panel also touched on the growth sectors in esports, such as betting, with Grant Johnson, CEO at Esports Entertainment Group, discussing the US’ interest in competitive gaming and its investment opportunities.
Johnson commented: “The focus of our company is mostly on regulated markets. Investors we speak with are based in the US, we get a lot of interest from family offices, high-net-worth individuals, and so on.”
Broadcast brilliance: Producing a spectacle and creating tournaments audiences don’t want to miss
Esports broadcasting has become an incredibly relevant discussion ever since live sport was affected due to the global health pandemic. Moreover, many tournament organisers had to adapt to a shift in style, transitioning from offline to an online product. These were just some of the topics brought up during the ‘Broadcasting brilliance’ panel.
One key point that was raised in particular was the differences between esports broadcasting and traditional sports, with Ariel Horn, Co-Founder and COO VENN, explaining the benefits of competitive gaming from a consumer standpoint.
Horn commented: “There’s just a degree of validation and kind of like, learning that you take from watching our products (esports). So you don’t really learn how to play baseball by watching MLB. But you learn how to play these video games by seeing Faker and what his strategy is to go back to base and when he goes and all these things in League of Legends.
“So there’s just like a whole multi-layered kind of thing, everything from the drama of the sport, to the stories and the competition and what unfolds, but also a deep sense of learning and belonging from video games.”
ESI’s Brand Masterclasses
The first of the two brand masterclasses showcased at ESI Digital Winter focused on an overview of branding in 2020. The panel featuring representatives from CTRL, CSM, Razer, and Samsung, whilst being presented by GEEIQ, an esports partnership strategy platform. The consensus was that 2020 turned out to be an especially challenging year, however, with new challenges came new opportunities.
Yann Salsedo, Head of Esports EMEA at Razer, shared his take on the hardware peripheral company’s 2020 approach: “We have decided to sign less teams, but the ones we have, we want to work as a true partner – designing the products for tomorrow, and investing in content and the best marketing campaigns around the content.
“Making content is very expensive, so we have tried to invest in the partnerships we have established to keep them meaningful.”
Additionally, Skyler Johnson, CEO of CTRL, provided his thoughts about working closely with individuals rather than whole organisations or team-wide sponsorships and the successes CTRL has seen with that strategy this past year, stating: “Now’s the best time to be in esports, but the individual route is a better way to go for partnerships rather than going for whole teams.”
He also mentioned the importance of adjusting brand values for content. “Awareness is such a bigger aspect. Now, getting a couple hundred thousands views on a video, the impact is really different than a few years ago.” Expanding that ‘views’ mean much less in terms of measurements than before because, extrapolated by our current everyday living conditions, the average consumer is subjected to relatively much more content on a daily basis.
The second brand masterclass, presented by Singtel, focused on telecommunication companies and esports. Tim Guhl, VP of Sales at Singtel, took the audience through a presentation detailing Singtel’s work in the Southeast Asia region and their work in creating the PVP Esports championship. Before the conference, Esports Insider spoke with Guhl to learn more about Singtel’s work in esports.
The Clutch Digital
Four very different start-ups took the digital stage to pitch their plans and visions to four esteemed judges, but one stood above the rest in the minds of the judges with Interactive Productline emerging as the ESI Digital Winter The Clutch Digital winner.
The judges were impressed by the confidence of Interactive Productline CEO Charlie Ohlen’s pitch and their interesting use of EEG for focus training for esports. HUBstats took home the People’s Choice Award via our integration with micro-gaming platform TheCE, and honourable mentions were given to the other two contestants, Flexer and GG Predict.
What else is the industry discussing?
Esports Insider’s day two recap only touched the surface of the content that was displayed throughout the event, with a panel of experts conversing over the ‘watchability’ of RTS’ competitive scene, esports revenue, and a deeper dive into the industry’s betting sector in the USA.
For those who purchased a ticket and missed out on some of the panels from day one and two then no need to worry as VOD’s of all the discussions will be made available soon.