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By 13 September 2016 | Categories: news

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GAMeS (Global Assembly Marketing eSports), in partnership with rAge, will launch Africa’s first eSports Branding Summit at the rAge Expo on Friday 7 October 2016. The half-day event will explore opportunities eSports presents to South African business and how it can capitalise on the eSports phenomenon, which is taking millennial audiences by storm across the globe.

Mlondi Mashinini, GAMeS summit programme director, says eSports research from SuperData projects that the total worldwide market for eSports will reach $910 million in 2016. The largest eSports prize pool was US$20.77 million at this year’s The International 6 Dota 2 competition with the largest audience being the 334 million people who watched the 2015 League of Legends World Championships.

“Despite these impressive figures, for many, eSports remains the biggest thing most people have never heard of,” says Mashinini. “The goal of the Summit will be to unpack the trends which are happening internationally as well as locally and expand brands’ horizons around the potential of eSports in an African context,” he says.

eSports has until 2016 largely been an underground movement in South Africa. Having said that, PwC benchmarks the South African gaming industry at over R2.6 billion, estimating it will reach R3.6 billion by 2019.

“While millions of gamers across the country buy games every month and fill up local servers every night competing against their online adversaries, for the most part, they have remained a market segment which is largely unidentified nor targeted by South African business,” Mashinini says.

That’s fast changing with cumulative prize money at local eSports competitions nearing the R2 million mark in 2016, while international eSports competitions have for the first time appeared on local TV networks.

Representatives from the local eSports industry, as well as broadcasters and agencies working in the industry will discuss the size, activities and audience the local gaming community represents and how eSports is likely to become a household viewing activity in South African homes alongside traditional sport and entertainment in years to come.

“eSports is growing at an unprecedented pace and the effectiveness of any attempt to reach an eSports audience rests on a brand’s ability to deliver a relevant message to a largely millennial audience, which is fast moving away from traditional media platforms.

“eSports provide brands with a huge opportunity to shift with this audience and connect with a passionate and digital audience that’s unduplicated against traditional media channels. The eSports Branding Summit will help brands understand and navigate this opportunity,” he says.

Michael James, rAge expo senior project manager, says over 33 000 people attended rAge in 2015, a clear indication of the high level of interest in gaming in this country.

“Our intention since the inception of rAge has been to broaden the gaming community while exposing consumers to the vast scope of entertainment and educational aspects of gaming. For 14 years we have introduced visitors to new concepts, products and culture. rAge has always been a place of discovery and our rAge eSports initiative falls in line with this approach. eSports has a definite place among general sports participation and spectatorship, with international cyber athletes setting the bar for future professionals. This is an opportune time to find out more - before the ‘eSports phenomenon’ becomes a reality in SA.”

The eSports Branding Summit provides an opportunity for brands to come to understand the biggest development in gaming in the last several years – the emergence of large scale crowds watching eSports in stadiums around the world and even larger audiences streaming it online, James concludes.

Seats are limited and can be booked here: https://esportsbrandingsummit.eventbrite.com/

Topics to be covered at the eSports Branding Summit include:

  • eSports as a Global Movement
  • The South African eSports Landscape
  • Brands and Audience: Reaching a Millennial Generation
  • Media and eSports: Freemium Models of Reaching Audience

Speakers and panellists will include several local eSports organisations, broadcasters and digital agencies.

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