eSports at the Olympics and more / by FPM Team

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  • Last week, Tony Estanguet, co-president of the Paris 2024 Olympic bid committee said “We have to look at [eSports] because we can’t say, ‘It’s not us. It’s not about Olympics … The youth, yes they are interested in eSport and this kind of thing. Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges … There is some time to look at it, to interact, to engage … We will spend some time after (the IOC meeting in September) Lima to engage with new people and stakeholders. The IOC will have the last … say, if they want eSports on the program. Let’s discuss among ourselves.”
  • Separately, Telemundo broadcast all 16 hours of the FIFA Interactive World Cup (an annual video gaming competition organized by FIFA and EA Sports) and Peter Blacker, Executive Vice President of digital media and emerging business for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises said “Esports gives us an opportunity to connect with the Hispanic, multicultural gaming audience … Esports consumers tend to be more millennial, and Hispanics are the most engaged in that group … Our heritage as part of NBCU means we’re the Hispanic home of the Olympics, which have been a great place for us to shine a light on athletes and their journeys, we’re going to do that in the eSports area as well.”
  • Also, market research firm Nielson announced a new eSports business unit and said, “eSports has experienced massive global growth over the past few years with major investment from blue chip sponsors, game publishers and media companies, as well as sports leagues and teams. The eSports fan base is also rapidly expanding with nearly one in three fans beginning to follow eSports just within the past year.”  (Note: Advisory board members include ESLESPNFacebookFIFA, Major League Gaming/Activision BlizzardNBA 2K LeagueThe Next LevelSony PlayStationTurnerTwitchTwitterUnilever and Google YouTube.)

OUR TAKE

  • Given that Olympic viewership has been declining, introducing activities such as eSports may help reverse this trend.
  • While eSports is still at a relatively early stage of development, this market will continue to expand and attract many new participants.
  • Advances in geo-spatial technologies (such augmented/virtual reality, sensors, motion capture, robotics/drones, etc.) will result in the introduction of new types of sports competition and reshape both traditional and eSports activities as well.