Why esports needs to market stories and situations to grow further

Esports is fast becoming a sector of the sports industry everyone is taking notice of.

Football clubs in particular are starting to perk up at the idea of having their own teams, as the likes of Manchester City, AS Roma and Paris Saint-Germain (and many more) have all committed to taking a seat at the esports table.

The question is how it grows.

That doesn’t just mean how football clubs get more involved or how FIFA tournaments evolve, but across the board – how does esports grow an audience?

What traditional sports show is the importance of jeopardy and storytelling. Football, for example, can create a situation which is almost as thrilling as the game itself. Before the showdown we can talk about how this is a ‘must-win game’, how this derby means so much to a league table or to the city itself, we can debate why this game means more than normal because the teams, players or managers hate each other’s guts. Indeed, we can ask if Paris Saint-Germain beat Real Madrid will it mark a shift in the established European order? Or will Jose Mourinho be pilloried for his poor performances if Manchester United don’t make it into the top four this season, for example? Could he lose his job?

These are the sorts of questions that traditional sports have built up over the years. But for esports, we’re on the start of a journey.

The individuals, their personalities and their stories are often more attractive to some audiences than they are to others. Whilst some fans have an emotional attachment to their teams, others care more about the individuals. There are mountains of fans of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi who don’t particularly care for the teams they play in. There are others who just watch football as though it was their favourite HBO TV series, binging on the twists, the turns and the drama.

It’s all about the marketing. At the moment, that’s one of the advantages that traditional sports have over esports, but the more mainstream esports becomes the more its personalities will become known to the public.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 716 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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