Producing wins and producing great content to accompany those wins are two equally important, but very different, things for esports organisations. It turns out that winning a tournament every couple of months simply is not enough to keep audiences engaged, and that’s why esports organisations turn to streamers and content creators, many of whom are former professional players.
Esports Insider enlisted AFK Creators, a creator agency that helps creators, teams and organisations attract attention, to learn more. We sat down with AFK Group’s Lead Esports Agent Jamie Wootton and Head of Agency Relations Shirin Nazemzadeh to discuss the benefits organisations receive from working with professional players.
Content makes the org
Content creation is now a major part of almost every esports organisation. From FaZe Clan to 100 Thieves to G2, orgs today employ a large number of dedicated streamers. Some of them are former professionals, like EXCEL’s Marc Robert ‘Caedrel’ Lamont, while others are casual entertainers.
Nazemzadeh said content creators open up a much wider audience for an organisation, thus allowing those who are not hardcore fans of the sport to still engage with the team. This, in turn, helps build team loyalty and leads to better monetisation opportunities through merchandise sales and other channels.
A number of organisations are now partnering with mainstream celebrities, such as FaZe and Snoop Dogg. This brings the celebrities’ fan base to esports, and helps raise awareness of the company amongst a new demographic.
Nazemzadeh said that signing celebrities can have a great impact on revenue, if nothing else because putting the name of a celebrity on a piece of merchandise can fuel sales immensely.
Players that stream are invaluable
Professional players and content creators are both important. But esports organisations that have pro players who also enjoy streaming hit the jackpot — they kill two birds with one stone.
Wootton added: “Professional players who also stream and create popular content are perfect for organisations.
This is because those players are even more monetisable. Whether it be through traditional marketing campaigns or merchandise drops that the players can be drawn into, the player having an audience is an inherent benefit for all involved.”
Creator talent can also be instrumental in attracting partnerships because the content creators expand the reach of their organisations. Nazemzadeh added that content creators drive impressions and engagements, which are very important for sponsors, but vitally they’re appealing to a broader audience than just hardcore fans.
It’s not just big creators, either — smaller influencers can have an outsized return on investment.
Shaky period followed by optimism
The pandemic moved a tremendous amount of eyes from traditional sports to gaming and esports, which Wootton said benefited streamers and esports teams alike. There were negative effects, especially considering that the LAN tournaments are just now returning to full swing, but there’s more money and more eyeballs on esports now than in 2019, Wootton added.
No one can really tell what’s in store for content creators and esports organisations this year — the creator industry is young, and things move quickly. Wootton admitted it would be “a bit too bold to offer a prediction” for the rest of the year, but there are signs that more players will shift towards content creation in the future — something orgs should perhaps take note of.
Both of Riot Games’ big titles, VALORANT and League of Legends, are “incredibly top-heavy,” said Wootton, and even CS:GO is becoming harder to penetrate for smaller orgs.
This leaves a lot of players without a route into the scene if they are not in the top echelon, and dips in performance can cost careers. Content creation can be an excellent way to bridge that gap — both for players, and for organisations.
Supported by AFK Creators