Pro Leagues Reach New Fans on TV Through Esports

  • NASCAR finds 1.7 million new fans through Pro Invitational Series on Fox. About 75% of eMLS Tournament Special viewers had not watched a real MLS game in 2020.
  • With esports verticals established, pro leagues also relied on star power to draw eyeballs.

Updated with additional NBA2K League viewership metrics. A recurring response to the absence of live sports by leagues during the coronavirus pandemic has seen organizations team up with media partners to put esports on television. While early discussions for the likes of NASCAR, MLS, and the NBA centered around how to fill programming holes with established esports verticals, what ensued was a crossover effect: esports leagues and professional sports themselves were introduced to new audiences quarantined at home. The eNASCAR […]

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A $200 Billion Industry

  • This article was first published in the FOS Daily Newsletter. Subscribe here.
  • The video game industry is expected to grow 9% in 2020 and projected to reach $200 million by 2023.

Following 9% growth in the first quarter of 2020, the video game industry is forecast to finish the year with 9.3% improvement and projected revenues of $159.3 billion. Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report also says the industry will become a $200 billion enterprise by 2023. COVID-19-related lockdowns were cited as a major driver for mobile games’ 13.3% growth to $77.2 billion in revenue. However, just 38% of the 2.6 billion mobile gamers pay for games. Mobile games’ lower barrier to […]

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‘ELEAGUE Super Punch’ Finds Early Success Building Core Gaming Audience

  • TBS’s May 8 episode of “Super Punch” reached a new high in average household viewership.
  • Turner Sports, however, still faces legacy media stigma with some viewers

Twitch and Turner Sports aired the first episodes of the studio show “ELEAGUE Super Punch” in February, about one month before the shut down of local economies due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Approximately three months into Super Punch’s existence, which focuses on big moments in the gaming industry and streaming culture, the show has seen steady growth in viewership and engagement on TBS and Twitch. According to Nielsen Media Research data cited by ELEAGUE, Turner Sports’ esports vertical, Super Punch […]

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Game Publishers Beat Estimates

  • EA doubled its fourth quarter income year-over-year with strong digital sales.
  • Activision's revenue from console platforms declined 12%, while mobile was up 7%.

Booming digital sales and strong franchises drove a strong fiscal year 2020 and Q4 for EA, the company announced in an earnings report. The video game publisher experienced 12% year-over-year revenue growth while doubling its operating income. EA’s full 2020 fiscal year finished with $5.5 billion in revenue, up 11.9% from the previous year. Digital sales, game sales and downloadable content grew 9% and now make up 78% of the total for the company. Activision Exceeds Q1 Projections Activision Blizzard […]

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theScore’s Esports Menu Expands With Live Shows

  • The company tested its live content strategy with a charity esports event May 1.
  • theScore has set new records for Youtube views in two straight months, headlined by 28 million views in April.

Toronto-based theScore is best known for its sports news and betting apps. But it has quickly developed a strong following on YouTube for esports – surpassing 1 million subscribers last November.  Now, the company is adding to its esports repertoire by introducing live-streamed shows and community events to gaming fans.  theScore’s esports vertical, launched in 2015, has undergone multiple iterations, according to Aubrey Levy, who oversees esports strategy as the company’s vice president of content. What began as just providing […]

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Call of Duty Teams Embrace Online Play Until Return to Live Audiences

  • Without ticket or merch sales, teams relying on sponsorship “make goods” and content creation.
  • Viewership for the Call of Duty League down early on YouTube Gaming for remote home series.

This story has been updated to reflect that Activision Blizzard has added dedicated servers to help Call of Duty League players connect from home. A shift from live events to solely online play by Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty League has led to a unique set of problems and creative solutions for franchises, players, and sponsors. While players are accustomed to practicing online in the lead-up to competitions, changes forced by the coronavirus pandemic have impacted operations in the league’s […]

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Esports Viewership Grows During Hiatus

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends leagues have had record viewership
  • YouTube traffic for theScore's esports channel is up 33% from last year.

With no live action on the field, fans are seeking out anything reminiscent of sports or with a hint of competition. From The Last Dance to the NFL Draft, traditional sports are getting their share of viewers, but so too are several esports. Both the professional Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends leagues have had record-breaking numbers in recent weeks, according to The Verge. Some notable CS:GO Season 11 numbers: 489,120 concurrent viewers across all platforms 113.2% increase in […]

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Q&A: Call of Duty League Commissioner Johanna Faries on Debut Season Lessons

  • The CDL resumed its inaugural season without live audiences on April 10 due to the coronavirus.
  • League remains focused on YouTube productions in lieu of pursuing a linear broadcast deal.

Activision Blizzard appointed Johanna Faries as commissioner of Call of Duty Esports in the summer of 2019 – one year after she joined the company. That was preceded by more than a decade with the NFL, where she held multiple executive roles in marketing and business development. Call of Duty’s current inaugural esports season hasn’t exactly gone according to plan due to the coronavirus pandemic, culminating in the suspension of league play in mid-March before resuming completely online on April […]

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Esports Offer NFL Draft a Roadmap for Hosting Remote Events

  • ESPN will receive more than 100 different feeds from the homes of talent, NFL personnel, and top prospects at its headquarters in Bristol, Conn.
  • Even if the tech prevails, “You lose a lot of the human element by not being able to film reactions in one space.”

As the NFL and ESPN make final preparations for the league’s first-ever virtual draft, both organizations may stand to learn lessons from esports in ensuring the three-day broadcast event runs as expected. On Thursday night, ESPN will receive more than 100 different feeds from the homes of talent, NFL personnel, and top prospects at its headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. The company is set to run its own major mock draft tests the night before the main event, after some external […]

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Counter Logic Gaming Lets Gamers Pick Their Own Mouse In Esports Rarity

  • Most esports organizations have exclusive deals with endemic gaming peripherals like keyboard and headset, requiring their teams to use the products.
  • CLG’s new deal with Newegg allows players to select products from the e-retailer’s inventory across different brands.

Much like other professional athletes, professional esports players rely on equipment to maintain top performance. While that usually means a certain kind of cleats or sneakers for an NFL or NBA player, in esports that typically means a particular mouse, keyboard, headset and even computer. But as those esports players rise through the ranks and sign on with teams, they often are faced with team-specific deals in those categories that require them to use products that they might not prefer […]

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