Our weekly CUSP (Columbia University Sports Podcast) has had a treasure trove of unique content, which I realized today we should be highlighting when we go live. This Monday’s guest is Nathan Lindberg, Director of e-Sports Sponsorships For Twitch.
For those who don’t know, Twitch is to e-Sports what ESPN is to traditional sports. It is the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers. More than 45 million gamers gather every month on Twitch to broadcast, watch and chat about gaming and the global community grows every month. Amazon purchased twitch for $970 million dollars in 2014.
Some great takeaways:
**The difference between traditional sports experience and e-Gaming: “When you watch traditional sports you lean back and the game comes to you; with Twitch you lean forward because you become immersed in the broadcast.”
**95 percent of the content on Twitch is consumed LIVE. While some fans will watch replays of games, the 24/7 experience from games to practices of professional gamers, is done in a live environment.
**There is a flood of content in the market that will be weeded out over time; Twitch alone hosts over 4,000 tournaments of games big and small.
**The value of owning a team is in the potential of gathering elite players from more than one game; many of the companies, and celebrities spending on purchasing teams are doing so for the potential of either finding a star who can play multiple games, or adding elite teams from various games under one financial umbrella.
**The real value for the major game creators like Riot Games and Blizzard is that they have total financial control of all aspects of the IP of the game; they can monetize everything in the game they own; “The NFL cannot monetize pickup football and the NBA can’t monetize playing three on three hoops.” If you play a game the game company controls all the financial aspects of the game.
**The game makers monetize by people playing the games; e-Sports right now is a loss leader for game developers…no one is making money, it is a loss leader with lots of potential yet to be realized.
**The idea of celebrities or traditional athletes who love video games and being engaged with a community through Twitch is not starting to take hold. Athletes like Amman Greene are now getting involved in gaming in a community through Twitch. However it is still in its infancy and they have to take the time to properly engage in things like chat to be effective.
**Jerry Ferrara, aka “Turtle” from “Entourage” fame, has become a passionate and engaged gamer in of all things, WWE.
**Brands are slowly learning how to engage in live e-Sports. Product placement is growing, live commercials, which are driven to engagement by players literally asking fans to watch while they take a break in the action, are also growing. Some brands are having trouble identifying the opportunity and are slow to engage. However a brand like Coca Cola, with a dedicated e-Sports team, has created a value add and a loyalty system for e-Sports fans that is NASCAR-like in engagement.
**e-Sports as a stand-alone event business still faces the challenges of traditional events; how to pay players, how to sell ticketing on a wide scale as well as sponsorships, how to maintain a consistent event business and how to create a broadcast platform that is cost-efficient. All of that is part of the growing pains of a vibrant economy.
**Twitch is very excited about the broadcast entities like Turner entering into the space; they will work with and compliment the broadcast with companion programming as well as pre and post event coverage that will grow the market.
For the entire learning experience, about 40 minutes, listen in here.