The COVID-19 pandemic ramped up esports in popularity, poising it as the next go-to sector. Like most industries, esports adapted to an unconventional 2020. Live tournaments that brought hundreds of fans together went to a new fully online setup, and this reality is not likely to go away soon.
Current stats estimate there are about 2.7 billion gamers globally — with some estimations as high as 3.5 billion — and video game spending in the U.S. totaled $56.9 billion in 2020.
In fact, a great way to understand the magnitude of the market is how Giersdorf, a 16-year-old esports player known as “Bugha,” hauled in $3.03 million for his 1st-place finish in the 2019 Fortnite Championship. That’s more than the $2.98 million Djokovic got for winning Wimbledon in 2019 and a lot more than the $2.07 million Johnson received this month as the Masters’ champ.
The industry is booming and companies like Razer (1337.HK), Sea Limited SE, and Modern Times Group MTG AB (MTGB:SS), Electronic Arts Inc. EA and Activision Blizzard ATVI, among others, are taking advantage of the demand for this market.
According to Statista, the esports industry reported a market revenue of $950.3 million in 2020. Revenues are expected to increase up to $1.6 billion by 2023.
ESE Entertainment Inc. (TSXV: ESE) ENTEF is a Europe-based entertainment and technology company focused on gaming and esports. Founded in 2019 by a former professional football player, Konrad Wasiela, ESE consists of multiple assets and world-class operators in the gaming and esports industries. Its capabilities include physical infrastructure, broadcasting, global distribution for gaming and esports-related content. It has brought about Tier-1 advertising and sponsorship partners like Nuvei, Redbull, LG and Neosurf.
Digital esports reality, the hottest trend in town
ESE is a world-class esports infrastructure company. Regarding the exponential increase in 2020, Wasiela made reference to the current activations with Columbia Records and Sony Music. “Esports has kind of taken a life of its own, and COVID just accelerated that. And now it’s pro athletes, it’s music, a crossover between industries. We’ve done this with FC Barcelona in Europe. I mean, it’s just a massive industry and it’s gonna slowly cross over into every aspect of entertainment.”
Last year the company closed a partnership agreement with Porsche and Orlen to manage and operate certain gaming and esports events specifically simulation racing. The simulation racing business unit continues to expand increasing revenues from track scanning tech and serve to execute existing partnerships for digital motorsport tournaments. Another sponsorship last year that positioned ESE as one of the fastest growing esports infrastructure companies was announced with Nuvei to provide the best payments experience to fans, merchants, teams and publishers, along with continuing to drive industry support which will assist ESE with payment barriers as its global footprint expands beyond Europe.
ESE entertainment in 2021
Currently, a lack of permanent digital and physical infrastructure for supporting global broadcasting events for advertising channels exists. ESE aims to deliver solutions. Its WPG subsidiary plans to provide infrastructure and support with bespoke solutions for fan engagement in sporting organizations, esports companies and telecom providers across the globe.
ESE partnered with the National Football League Alumni Association (NFLA), the American Cancer Society and Esports TV (ESTV) to organize “Madden the Yard Legends Challenge,” an esports event on February 3-6, 2021.
The event brought together professional NFL players and alumni like Super Bowl Champion Shane Vereen and former star running back for the Green Bay Packers, Ahman Green.
ESE Entertainment has also announced that its esports team K1CK has entered into a partnership with Rio Ave Football Club (Rio Ave FC). The duo will manage and create esports-related content for the Portuguese Premier League. The partnership will allow both K1CK and Rio Ave FC to gain exposure to new markets through cross-promotion and collaborative events.
This initiative will work to set up the esports team for Rio Ave FC. Organizing and executing events at Rio Ave FC’s stadium, managing programming and spearheading gaming-related operations are among the top priorities.
It also expands the relationship to include K1CK players representing Rio Ave FC in FIFA competitions as they strive to qualify for the eChampions League.
ESE’s recent surge in business from its esports division, plus the company’s record revenue growth, has set the company to pursue multibillion-dollar verticals in gaming and esports going forward. Even sports as we know it will evolve with the current trends. Benzinga