The Rundown: How emerging esports organizations separate themselves from the pack

As gaming becomes a mainstay of mainstream culture and entertainment, esports organizations are mushrooming.

Esports earnings’ team list currently caps at 500, although some of the listed organizations no longer exist and others have been absorbed into larger teams. Either way, there’s a glut of esports organizations active in the modern competitive gaming landscape, with new teams forming every week in the Twitter and Discord nebulae.

Brands and marketers need to exercise caution when navigating this glut of diverse options. While top teams like Cloud9 and Team Liquid have significant reach, working with smaller organizations can help brands reach dedicated communities for a fraction of the price. Digiday reached out to experts to find out how to identify growing esports organizations that stand out from the crowd.

The key details:

  • Marketers should partner with esports organizations competing in newer or smaller esports sports that have loyal and growing communities. One area of ​​esports that will almost inevitably grow in the future is the mobile sector; As top esports teams begin to recruit mobile gamers, there are some dedicated mobile esports teams that have been operating in the space for years. “Every publisher, every tournament organizer wants to see SK Gaming, Team Liquid, FaZe Clan, etc., in the mobile gaming ecosystem,” said Oliver Maxfield, director of product management at ESL Gaming. “I think endemic mobile esports organizations, like QLASH and Tribe game, definitely have a head start.
  • Another potential breeding ground for emerging esports organizations is the international esports scene – the competitive gaming community beyond the specific regions of North America, Europe, and Asia where esports are already doing. part of the mainstream. Esport journalist Aron garst gave the example of Supermassive blaze, a Turkish team that participates in esports such as Valorant and League of Legends: Turkey is a rapidly growing gaming market, acting as a autonomous region with its own League of Legends circuit operated by Riot-Games, and outstanding Turkish teams such as SuperMassive Blaze are poised to gain an international fan base as the competitive Valorant scene grows. “Looks like this is a level one Valorant organization,” Garst said. “Turkey has just been added to the EMEA zone [Europe, the Middle East and Africa] in Valorant, which is quite strange – there could be another region that includes Turkey.
  • Players are the lifeblood of esports teams, and organizations that recognize the importance of their players and support their professional development are often the most likely to be successful. 100 Thieves is a good example: the organization’s comprehensive approach gives its creators a say in the team’s trajectory and content, retaining the talents of 100 Thieves as the team builds. is gaining popularity. And Garst pointed out the Arizona base Built by players, which pays the salaries of its players and has recovered some members of the The Minnesota ROKKR Call of Duty team were laid off en masse, as a smaller organization that follows a similar pattern. “We believe that a player is a personality type not restricted by gender, age or geography – someone committed to being the best at their craft, focused on continuous improvement, always moving forward in the game. life, ”said Tyler Farnsworth, Marketing Director of Built By Gamers. “We focus a lot on inclusion, tackling toxicity and prioritizing personal and mental health. “

Key figures

  • Global esports revenue set to exceed $ 1.08 billion in 2021, says Newzoo report.
  • The number of gamers in the United States increased by 26 million between 2019 and 2021, with gamers willing to spend more per month on games, according to Activate Consulting. Technology and Media Outlook 2022.
  • According to the same report, the number of American viewers for esports has grown to over 60 million, with a young, affluent and educated demographic core.
  • Traditional sports leagues and teams, as well as brands not endemic to gaming, are increasingly involved in the esports industry, with esports driving media consumption and sales of popular titles.

A challenger is approaching

A promising new type of esports organization is on the horizon: teams owned and fully supported by popular game makers. Esport journalist John popko highlighted the hubbub surrounding Moist Esports, an organization founded and run by the acclaimed streamer and YouTuber Charles “MoistCr1TiKaL” White. Although the organization was founded in 2020, it immediately rose to fame within the fighting game community by signing popular players to Super Smash Bros. such as Paris “Light” Ramirez. The success of Moist Esports is another indicator of the rise and importance of individual creators in the gaming space. “I’m sure Cr1TiKaL is a rich dumbass,” Popko said. “But the important part is its platform – how influential it is.”

A changing landscape

With popular streamers like Imane “Pokimane” Anys launching their own businesses, it’s no exaggeration to imagine that more creators will follow in White’s footsteps to found their own esports teams. Yet these are the first days of such behavior; right now, brands would probably benefit the most from partnering with more established teams. Leading esports teams are always a safe bet for interested advertisers, but for those looking to make the most of their money, smaller esports organizations with dedicated followers – and avenues for future growth – could. be the ticket.

The Rundown: How up-and-coming esports organizations are separating themselves from the pack