Even as content is making a major digital switch, esports is moving to linear TV in India to target the ‘media dark’ audience. Will the booming industry finally get the ‘mainstream’ tag is the big question everyone is asking.
The coming together of Star Sports and NODWIN Gaming to broadcast the BGMI Masters Series tournament live on Star Sports 2, the same channel that also airs IPL, for three long weeks is a step taken towards esports’ journey to prime-time television.
While NODWIN Gaming, a part of Nazara Technologies (BSE: NAZARA) could not give out details of the media rights price or brands associated with the tournament, the series that will see India’s top 24 BGMI squads battling it out has already seen a doubling of partner brands and 350% increase in revenue.
The credit for the exponential growth in numbers goes to the fact that this season’s BGMI Masters Series would be on TV, said MD and Co-Founder, NODWIN Gaming Akshat Rathee.
“TV changes the conversation with partners. So far, esports has always been associated with live streaming on digital platforms. Through this collaboration with a mainstream sports channel, we hope to break that mould. We have a huge media dark advertiser pool that will now be interested to associate themselves with esports,” Rathee told Storyboard18.
“Our advertisers on digital complain about the huge chunk of the audience that is not there on digital and then there are ad blockers too. With television we will be beyond these roadblocks,” he added.
According to him, if the TV works out and the trend of televising esports events continues, the total size of the esports in the country has the potential to grow anywhere between 200% and 300% in the next 12-24 months.
A recent 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. Tournament sponsorship and syndication revenue would also likely quadruple with media broadcasting rights and advertisement sponsorship revenue together constituting this segment.
Coming back to the BGMI Masters Series tournament, just like any other sport each and every segment of the games has been monetized. There are a total of 15 sub-segments in the three hours of content that would be televised.
How it works
Explaining how it works for brands and advertisers Rathee said, “Just like cricket where there is a wickets package, a sixes package, a man of the match, etc we have similar options in our ecosystem. For example, you have the player of the day than a team of the day, the fastest score for the day etc that we have created for brands and partners.”
Not just partner brands, even Star is looking at recruiting new audiences with this series. In an official statement, Sanjog Gupta, Head – of Sports, Disney Star said, “As the preferred destination for sports fandom, Star Sports is always looking for opportunities to engage fans, galvanise communities and recruit new audiences. Our partnership with Nodwin Gaming seeks to shape the future of eSports in India by introducing high quality competition and prominent players to millions of TV viewers around the country. It will hopefully fuel fandom for eSports amongst gamers and elevate aspiration amongst athletes.”