Telling the ‘Stories’ of esports to Build a Strong Fanbase

02nd Nov. 2018

It’s really not that long since most people’s idea of achieving fame and fortune would have involved packing a bag and heading for Hollywood or the recording studios of London in the 60s. If you’d told someone then that people would one day be able to become stars without ever leaving their bedrooms, they would have found the idea almost unimaginable. But that’s exactly what has happened, as the internet, and YouTube and social media especially, has created an entirely new type of celebrity figure emerge. Just recently, Forbes made a compelling case for YouTubers being more influential among Millennials than traditional celebrities are.

If YouTubers can become stars, then it is not inconceivable that esports gamers could achieve a similar level of success. In fact, you don’t have to imagine it at all – in some parts of the world, it has already happened. Since the early 2000s, top Starcraft players in Korea have enjoyed just as much of a celebrity status as more conventional sports stars. The acceptance of video games and esports has been a slower process in the West than in Far East Asia, but the esports fanbase is now seeing impressive growth – driven in part by the ease of following the scene, and individual talents within it, on social media.

Now, we can see the evidence of esports as an established presence, as major corporations, from telecom operators to Adidas, sponsoring teams. This, of course, is just one way of measuring the success of esports, with another being the size of its fanbase. But how can the fanbase realistically be measured? A common observation is that esports players will have their own social media followers, while teams will also have their own, making the overall size of the fanbase difficult to judge. Are these followers loyal to a particular player, or do they support a team?

Of course, this is not a phenomenon unique to esports. When NBA stars or high-profile footballers, for instance, are purchased by another team, the emotional response from both player-focused fans and team-focused fans is often considerable enough to shift the market. However, these type of sporting figures are famous in a more conventional sense than esports stars. esports as a professionalized discipline is a relatively recent phenomenon, which means it is often harder for people unfamiliar with it to understand.

If esports teams want to fully harness and monetize their following, it will be extremely important for them to craft a unique narrative, and tell a compelling story that the uninitiated can grasp easily. In the public consciousness, esports is still a ‘new’ phenomenon, if it is recognised at all, so PR and marketing teams will be faced with plenty of trial and errors before they get this narrative right, and begin to reach the right audiences.

This is the expertise and speciality that can bring to the table. We draw on the experience of a team comprising some of the most knowledgeable names in esports and investment. We have decades of experience in multiple entertainment sectors, from sports to online entertainment. For all of our advisors, and for our investor Tej Kolhi, esports represents an innovative merging of competitive sports, entertainment and disruptive technologies, that will allow countless people across the globe to take part in a truly borderless phenomenon.