Fans are the lifeblood of sports, and the same can be said of esports. While the majority of esports events have gone to online-only formats during the pandemic, esports companies and brands risk losing their connection with fans and, as a result, their viewing audience. Many are turning to fan engagement platforms as a way to inspire fans and to lure the sponsors who drive the bulk of revenues in the business. Fan engagement platforms can drive interest by offering loyalty programs, VIP access to events, merchandise sales, and other e-commerce opportunities. Importantly, these kinds of solutions can work in tandem with the sponsors for an esports team, yielding a more cohesive monetization solution for the business.
Late last year, ReKT Global (parent company of Rogue and Call of Duty franchise, London Royal Ravens) purchased Fullcube, a specialist that has developed official fan membership programs for NASCAR, NFL Alumni, Turner Classic Movies, and more. Team Liquid has built its own fan engagement platform called Liquid+. Several other teams – F2K, Godsent, and Team Queso – recently partnered with a London-based engagement platform, Espo. Henry James, Espo’s CEO, claims that these engagement platforms are income generators via e-commerce stores and new opportunities for esports sponsorships.
Sponsorships and how esports organizations are continuing to engage their fanbase is just one area Interpret is tracking as part of its soon-to-be-launched Esports Replay® trends and insights product. Interpret fully expects more teams to leverage unique and innovative fan engagement strategies as we head into 2021.