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Covering the esports economy

June 11, 2018

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Sponsorships, advertising and endorsement deals earn millions for esports teams and other businesses. (Photo by JESHOTS.com via Pexels, CCO)

Electronic sports (video gaming) is gaining popularity, and professional gaming is also a booming business. In fact, Esports intelligence company Newzoo predicts that the global esports economy will grow to $905.6 million this year.

Here’s a look at ways to approach this burgeoning trend in your business coverage.

Collegiate esports

College coaches used to scout for talented young quarterbacks, and now some seek elite gamers too. As a result, a growing number of colleges now offer esport scholarships. ESPN has a list of collegiate esport programs and Scholarships.com lists esport scholarship programs, so it’s worth checking if your state or community has a local program. Also check out the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) for additional information. Who’s underwriting these scholarships and why? Are college amenities evolving to attract top gamers (for instance, lavish gaming lounges instead of large sports arenas or workout facilities)?

The broader esports economy

Gaming sponsorships, endorsements and merchandise is flourishing outside of college campuses too. Several Quora posters discuss revenue models for esports teams, media companies and other players while Barron’s displays revenue streams in a chart.

AdAge dissects the branding and advertising opportunities in this space and VentureBeat explores why esports teams are a hot commodity amongst investors. Although it’s from 2014, this New York Times story captures the excitement (and economic stakes) of an esports tournament. Meanwhile, this Entrepreneur piece offers advice to businesses selling to esports players and fans.

Are any major tournaments held in your area or have any locals won big? What are the economic implications of a tournament and how do local restaurants, retailers and other businesses tap into this market? Physical therapy for esports players recovering from hunched posture or stiff wrists is another area to consider.

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