If there’s an industry that went better than expected, it´s definitely eSports. Today, more than 210 million people worldwide regularly watch competitive gaming, and the market is worth over $890 million, made up of 74% sponsorship money and the remainder directly from consumer spending. A lot of investors, advertisers and publishers have bet on the future growth of this segment, hoping to catch the wave.
And it’s getting better and better. With young audiences proving to be loyal when it comes to effective ad targeting, networks and broadcasters seek to increase their attraction by getting into eSports. Instead of knowing the audience, they move in this arrogant strategy as it is the incumbent’s staple audiences that are shrinking; TV needs eSports, not the other side.
As it grows fast in fandom, pro-gaming will need discipline and a sense of accountability. In Brazil, eSport is still growing. The most famous game is League of Legends, thanks to the support given by the producer Riot Games in official tournaments, such as the Brazilian Championship (CBLoL). Games like Counter -Strike, Street Fighter and Fifa also have local, but smaller tournaments. In addition, events such as Brazil Mega Arena and Brazil Game Show promote their own eSports tournaments, watching different games and various awards.
The growth potential of this market seems to suddenly have taken flight with hundreds of millions now regularly watching competitive gaming. But the biggest concern for eSports is sustainability, not size. And in Brazil, it’s not very different.
A country like the UK is not unfamiliar with this process. The UK games industry originated in the bedrooms of a generation of ambitious teenagers, some of whom became leaders in the field. After a period of local, entrepreneurial success, large American and Japanese publishers started employing the British innovative spirit, which, in turn, had to professionalize. What the UK industry learned then is what pro-gaming is learning now: it should focus on establishing a healthy network of professional teams, publishers and sponsors that work together on making the spectacle of games a better, more rewarding experience for its fans.
Marcelo Tavares, CEO of Brazil Game Show (BGS), the largest fair of video games in Latin America, believes that the success of e-sports segment in countries like China and the US can reach deeply in Brazil.
“IN BGS, FOR EXAMPLE, THIS IS ONE OF THE SEGMENTS THAT HAVE RECEIVED CONSIDERABLE ATTENTION. WE CAN SEE THIS WITH THE FIGURES OF BRAZIL GAME CUP (BGC), WHICH HAD ITS FIRST EDITION IN 2014, MET EIGHT TIMES, SOME INTERNATIONAL, AND HAD APPROXIMATELY 800,000 PEOPLE ATTENDING THE COMPETITIONS VIA THE INTERNET IN ADDITION TO THIS PUBLIC AT THE FAIR OF MORE THAN 250 THOUSAND PEOPLE.”
Marcelo is optimistic about the BGC this year and he was right: the event has a growth of 20%.
Earnings around the world for eSports remain tiny compared to the $104 billion in global games revenue. To grow, it has to overcome one of its biggest struggles in digital media today: the lack of credibility and reliability in assessing the ‘true’ eSports audience. This is not an issue exclusive to pro-gaming because brands all around the world are clamoring for more transparency when it comes to digital ad spending.
In Brazil, to be part of a team that travels the world as a pro you need to show above average performance: the higher your scores, the more chance there is to get to the professional level and be highlighted. Scouts are always looking for talent, whether to build new teams or to replace those that no longer brings results. So constantly gamers pressure themselves even more. In return, they gain lodging, food, maid and the latest equipment, in addition to fixed salaries.
The teams do not reveal numbers but it is estimated that a Brazilian cyber athlete earns between R$ 3,000 and R$ 10,000 per month, adding earnings from advertising, commissions on product sales, individual sponsorships and online broadcasts of their matches. A whole new lifestyle.
And the numbers of tournaments are far from negligible: the finals of CBLOL 2015 put 8.000 paying in Maracanãzinho Gymnasium in Rio. This year, the event of Allianz Park will receive 12 thousand people. Great numbers for a minor country, but there’s still a lot of issues that cannot be ignored.
Doping, gambling, the exploitation and abuse of female pros, preventing teams from selling merchandise at events, a lack of transparent rules that determine team participation, an unfair and unnecessarily strenuous tournament schedule, region-blocking, and generally poor communication between platforms, publishers, and Players.
Now that pro-gaming has moved into mainstream, all its petty problems are coming to light. At the same time none of the issues are insurmountable. Already we see the emergence of self-regulatory industry bodies like the eSports Integrity Coalition. It presents eSports’ first step toward becoming a respected, sustainable
The beginning of the year was great, and the numbers talk for themselves. Let´s take a look of CS:GO results:
Orena Century Cup – R30 000 (Winner takes all, won by Bravado)
DGL Masters rAge Cape Town – R100 000 (Won by Bravado Gaming)
Vodacom Gamer’s Fest – R67 500 (Won by CarboN eSports)
MGMS – R10 000 (Won by Bravado Gaming)
ESWC Qualifiers – Trip to Paris to compete (Won by Bravado Gaming)
Evetech Champions League – R150 000 (Won by Bravado Gaming)
There was also Bravado CS:GO’s performance at WESG which earned roughly R260 000, the largest prize pool of them all for a single team.
If we focus on Bravado’s performance alone, we can dig a bit deeper to see how much the CS:GO team has made over the past year.
Orena Century Cup – R30 000
DGL Masters rAge Cape Town – R40 000
Vodacom Gamer’s Fest – R20 000
MGMS – R6 000
WESG Qualifier – R260 000
ECL – R75 000
Moral of the story: the Bravado Gaming CS:GO team has made R431 000 from the above mentioned tournaments, and each player won R86 000, give or take (not accounting for travel, coaches or management fees). The year isn’t even over yet, with Bravado still traveling to ESWC in Paris in October, their trip to WESG in China in December, and the R500 000 Telekom Digital Gaming Masters tournament at rAge in October. There’s still a lot of money to be made. A lot!
In Brazil, there is no official data on how many championships are in the market, but according to the data collected by UOL Games report, adding the major championships published in 2015, over R$2 million was distributed in cash in various games like Combat Arms, FIFA World, Dota 2 and especially League of Legends, which alone has
given more than R$500 thousand just counting the CBLoL , the main Brazilian league match.
Although the teams placing second, or third, might not be making as much money, they are making considerably more than previous years, when they left without anything but pride. These teams are also filled in majority with players who are either in school, or at university, meaning it beats having to work as a waiter to make some pocket money. And this is all without considering whatever sponsorship deals these teams might have, which means everything to a lot of young gamers.
Edited by Marian Härtel