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How will India's first CWG medal in esports affect brands' interest?

The Indian DOTA 2 team's bronze medal at the first-ever Commonwealth Esports Championship will attract more brands to esports

By  Tasmayee Laha RoyAug 12, 2022 1:26 PM
How will India's first CWG medal in esports affect brands' interest?
Indian DOTA 2 Team Winning Bronze Medal at Commonwealth Esports Championship 2022

Brands have always been in love with athletes winning medals at global platforms. The list of these athletes could now include esport players. The Indian DOTA 2 team that won a bronze medal at the first-ever Commonwealth Esports Championship this week, will attract brands to esports like never before, say industry executives.

30-year-old Moin Ejaz who is the DOTA 2 team captain has seen his follower numbers on social media go up after the win. Brands like Red Bull and AMD are already in touch with the team for collaborations. Ejaz will now start a team page for social platforms and also live stream their games for maximum engagement and brand partnership opportunities.

Lokesh Suji, Director of Esports Federation of India and Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation, says, “Brands should start looking at esports the way they look at traditional sports. We are focusing on training the players for other important tournaments and it is a great opportunity for brands to come forward and be a part of the training programmes and build activations around it."

The win will also help in pushing the overall perspective about gaming leading to brands taking notice of the opportunity in the space.

A latest EY report says as esports grows popular amongst youth and the affluent, advertisers and agencies are expected to increasingly use esports tournament viewership to gain reach and engagement with the audience, growing over 4x to Rs 6.5 billion by FY25.

Players in the category are beginning to see brand interest from multiple categories. Indian game streamer Rooter, for instance, is now focusing on monetization and has already clocked an 83% growth in revenue between Q1 and Q2.

Piyush Kumar, founder and CEO at Rooter Sports Technologies says it is a big year for the space from the brand perceptive.

“Brands are taking notice of the space and realizing its potential. At Rooter, we have an array of brands working with us including the likes of Flipkart, HP, TVS Sports and many others. We are onboarding three to four brands every month,” he tells Storyboard18.

The EY report also says that 1.5 million players, 85 million viewers, 20+ broadcasters and several brands, organizers and publishers will collectively define the esports market in India by FY2025.

The industry is expected to grow at 46% CAGR over the next four years and streaming platforms will generate the largest chunk of esport revenues.

From Right to Left - Abhishek Yadav, Shubham Goli, Ketan Goyal, ESFI Director Mr Lokesh Suji, Vishal Vernekar, Moin Ejaz

'Every ecosystem needs heroes'

Justin Shriram Keeling, founding general partner at Lumikai, one of India’s first gaming funds, says India's medal win at the Commonwealth Championships is a huge event for the domestic esports ecosystem.

He tells us, “We're already seeing a massive uptick in the vibrancy of India's esports viewership on platforms like Loco, which already hosts over 100,000 concurrent viewers on esports tournaments."

"Every ecosystem needs heroes, and we look forward to the success of Moin, Ketan, Abhishek, Shubhnam inspiring future domestic esports athletes to shoot for the moon on the global stage," he adds.

The industry is now preparing for the Asian Games next year.

Sagar Nair, co-founder and CEO, at Qlan, an AI-based networking app that connects gamers and esports enthusiasts, says the win at the Commonwealth Games opens up doors for brands to get into team sponsorships, athlete endorsements, product integrations and any other form of brand partnership that brands have been engaging with other sports and athletes."

He adds, "Asian Games will open the floodgates for brands to reach out to a massive GenZ consumer base."

First Published on Aug 12, 2022 1:13 PM