Nicecactus: Building an esports legacy in Monaco

In December last year, gaming platform Nicecactus partnered with the Monaco Esports Federation for the inaugural Monaco Gaming Show. To sum up last year’s edition — and to look ahead to future, offline iterations — Nicecactus wrote this piece in collaboration with Esports Insider.


In mid-2020, the Monaco Esports Federation (MEF) tasked Nicecactus with organising one of the largest EMEA esports events to date. As a result, an international event designed to bring together some of the world’s best Fortnite and Rocket League athletes was born.

Even with the challenges presented by the pandemic, the Monaco Gaming Show’s ‘warm-up’ edition attracted much publicity and thus allowed MEF to get its partners involved. It was a success that has set the standards for the annual event. 

Monaco Gaming Show Dec 18th-19th, 2020 Monte Carlo

RELATED: Nicecactus: Ad and sponsorship strategy needs to be overhauled

Gregory Bolle, Chief Revenue Officer at Nicecactus, described the strategy as a ‘full-spectrum’ approach: “We were determined to create an event that could be replicated annually and we started with setting three key objectives.

“First, we wanted to give this event dynamic energy by bringing famous esports broadcasters on board. To achieve this, we created a world-class TV studio in Monte Carlo and invited a number of esports casters and content creators.”

“Second, we wanted to leverage every aspect of social media to ensure we had full coverage of the esports community,” said Bolle. “Finally, we wanted to involve MEF’s key partners, raise their profile and give them a taste of what esports is all about.”

According to Manou Marzban, Chief Marketing Officer at Nicecactus, the results exceeded all expectations. “We were a little concerned about participation because of the ongoing pandemic, but in the end, there was nothing to worry about. The qualifiers have seen over 35 nationalities and more than 6,000 players participate in the tournaments.

“In just 48 hours of live competition, we reached almost nine million page impressions across our social media. More than 200,000 unique viewers tuned into the live stream of the finals and ‘#MonacoGamingShow’ became a top-tweeted hashtag in France. These numbers proved to us that the community is hungry for large-scale esports events.”

Pictured: Gregory Bolle (left) and Mike Hessabi (right)

When considering the future of esports events in the Principality of Monaco, the way Nicecactus and MEF worked with the key local partners played an important role. The pre-event PR combined both online and traditional marketing efforts, together with the participation of partners and sponsors. 

Bolle explained: “We made the decision to combine new and old marketing channels for maximum reach early on. We used partner logos and banners across social media and gaming platforms, including Twitch. We placed ads and messages on our own platform, targeting 1.3 million members.

“Offline we engaged with traditional advertisers. We had billboards all over Monaco, as well as ads in local newspapers. Our public-relations activity resulted in numerous articles in a myriad of publications across Europe. We made sure that our partners were highlighted in all our messaging. It was imperative for us to show the active role and support they provided in order to make this event a big hit.”

During the finals of the Monaco Gaming Show in December 2020, Nicecactus used its network of influencers to promote the event globally. For the Fortnite segment of the tournament on Twitter alone, influencers, such as  Klaivert “Τeeqzy” Dervishi and Willy “Skyyart” Dias, together with host Frédéric “FredZolf “Zolfanelli, promoted the event to more than 870,000 followers.

Photo from the inaugural Monaco Gaming Show, 2020, which was held online due to social-distancing measures. Credit: Nicecactus

RELATED: Nicecactus: Connecting with an audience of digital natives

Nicecactus-powered gaming organisation Glory4Builders provided another 44,000 followers. The reach of the many influencers involved, combined with the energetic promotion of the event, all added up to deliver an outstanding first-time show. 

Mike Hessabi, CEO of Nicecactus spoke on the success of the first edition of the event: “Monaco Gaming Show has two objectives to fulfil. Firstly, Monaco has been at the centre of international sports events for decades, hosting major events in tennis, F1 and football, to name a few. Esports should not be an exception.

“Secondly, Monaco has always been forward-thinking, always at the cutting edge of new frontiers. Esports is the new frontier in sport and Nicecactus is leading the charge. Therefore it seemed 100 percent natural for the Monaco Esports Federation to partner with us in delivering a truly pioneering event. We are very thankful for the opportunity and are already planning the next edition.”

The Monaco Gaming Show will return in 2021 and will only get bigger, especially in its live segment. Last year’s ‘warm-up’ edition delivered a tight schedule of qualifiers and live finals over just two days to meet the expectations and adhere to safety guidelines.

“The Monaco Gaming Show will be bigger and more elaborate in 2021,” said Bolle. “We will build on what we delivered last year and focus on improving various elements of the show to be even more engaging.

“We hope that we can have a more celebrative final segment and bring in a live audience to Monaco once the restrictions are lifted. We look forward to working closely with more important partners and making the next edition of this annual event bigger and better. Watch this space!”  

ESI Podcasts | Digest, Focus, Insight