For the first time in generations we are witnessing the birth of a new sport and it’s the sport of the Millennials: esports.
eSports is competitive videogaming with professional teams and prize money pools up to 20 MUSD. eSsports is becoming a multi-billion dollar market and is already rivaling traditional sports - by 2018, it is forecasted to have more fans than the NFL.
Big players from traditional football clubs, NBA club owners, big brands to media companies enter the arena of eSports.
Arnd Benninghoff, MTGx
• fighting my midlife crisis with this, turning 50 soon
• it’s competitive video gaming
• Kattowice is the epicenter of eSports, 12,000 kids, no idea what’s going on
• birth of a new sport
• area full of young kids watching people playing video games
• ESL - this is only the beginning…
• by end of 2018 viewer ship bigger than NFL
• professional teams
• prizes up to 20 Mio. US-Dollar
Andreas Thorstensson, EQT Partners
• the former world champion of Counter Strike/Half-life, founded one of those professional teams
• in the beginning, he didn’t like video games, but he loved sports and computers
• 1999 launch of Counter Strike was his turning point, first moment he realized, it will become something bigger
Ralf Reichert, ESL
• video games while studying, but it will be big, what to do? founding a league
Moritz Beckers-Schwarz, FC Schalke04
• What did you smoke to put eSports to Schalke04?!
• how can we increase our brand, new target groups, Generation Y and Millenials
• "and it was Ralf’s mistake that we did it in the end"
Why is it a sport? Is it really a sport?
• Is golf a sport? Discussion you can have all day, is it less or more physical than golf
• You have the group which will always say: of course!
• broke through, when it was touchable, as we filled those areas
• areas, stage, athletes - checkmark, next: will it be Olympic?
• it’s entertainment as well
What can football learn from eSports?
• value, bring our knowledge to eSports, we also see a lot of things eSports brings to classical sports
• How to use our content in the other and right way?
• Clubs will become bigger than traditional sports clubs - so it’s super smart of Schalke to invest in eSports
• How to motivate them? - young football kids (10-12), in our traditional sport club, but also 16-17-year-olds at „League of Legends“ - we accept them as sports athletes
• Role models? - Champions League, best economy models will actual succeed
• right cooperation, launched a federation together with professional teams
• audience is global, everything you do has to be global
• economic model needs to be behind it, goal: to be successful
• beginning - RTS: Real Time Strategy - Quake, Counter Strike, …
• now we have the „League of Legends“ games (since 2009)
• publishers (e.g. Riot) changed rules in a game, we have to deal with it, they own the rights
• exactly like traditional sports: media revenue, merchandising, betting, …
• better: athlete is probably not getting ill, is home more often, you can be hired after a career
• 215 Mio. players
• revenue perspective: still very low compared with traditional sports (1.4 B in Europe, 1.6 B North America, 1.7 B Asia Pacific), but it’s growing
• early stage investments
Why and how did Schalke04 started with eSports?
• S04: the supervisory board was quite the challenge back in Januar last year - people around 60/70 - showing the opportunity, revenue, …
• focused more on the German market with Schalke as a traditional sport, but eSports is global -> especially Asia market is interesting for the club
• long term decision, clear decision, huge success with our announcement, reached 200 Mio. people
• Max Meier is driving it inhouse, as he likes to play FIFA and wants more information, …
Other talking points in discussion with the audience
• doping: we started doping test last year… - we don’t want to die like other sports
• integration of women? - most of the sports we are aware of are very male driven, when it’s more an entertainment product it will reach other target groups, e.g. women, but we are trying to incubate them
• it’s our job to foster it (at an event only 15% female, but „GamerGate“, bullying)
eSports in 5 years
• No. 2 sports behind football
• S04 turnover off 50-60 Mio. Euros in 10 years
• generate a lot more revenue
START PLAYING GAMES!