One of the fastest growing segments of the OTT market is eSports. It’s not just live streamed tournaments, either. Popular eSports influencers attract audiences who are interested in the players as much as the games. 

If you’re an eSports influencer considering whether to jump to an OTT Platform, here’s everything you need to know to make the call.

The eSports market is on the rise- big time.

Once lumped in with traditional sports, eSports has set itself apart and is growing independently. International eSports competitions gross as much (sometimes even more) profit as physical sporting events. There’s even growing support for an eSports category in the Olympics.

The market is on track to nearly double by 2023. That estimate is based on the steadily growing audience. In 2017 there were an estimated 335 million regular eSports viewers. That number rose to 454 million in 2019 and is expected to pass 646 million by 2023. 

Viewership at that level translates into serious money. The 2021 global eSports market is valued at over $1.08 billion USD. Conservative estimates have it reaching $1.62 billion by 2024. 

Some experts are suggesting the recent pandemic will push those numbers higher- but even if they don’t, that’s a healthy market for influencers to tap into. 

Gaming consoles are one of the most popular OTT devices around.

More than 46% of US households with high speed internet also have at least one internet-capable gaming console. For households with children, that jumps to 80%.

People aren’t just using their consoles to play, either. 75% of users access non-gaming content through their console. They stream TV shows, watch live streams, and participate in online communities. 40% of console owners stream more than 10 hours a week through their console.

Many eSports fans are already heavy OTT users.

Given how popular gaming consoles are as OTT devices, it should come as no surprise that there’s a huge overlap between eSports fans and OTT users. The target demographics for both fields are very similar. In fact, nearly 90% of console owners are already subscribed to at least one OTT service.

In other words, eSports fans are very comfortable with the OTT format. They’re used to having multiple subscriptions and aren’t afraid to try new platforms. 

That makes it easier to attract eSports fans to a personal influencer platform than other audiences. You don’t have to sell them on the value of a platform, just the value of your content.  

The eSports subculture is naturally geared towards OTT platforms.

Fans of eSports have a different relationship with the genre than sports fans have with their teams. A lot of them play recreationally themselves. 

That means fans form personal connections to eSports influencers not just because of skill, but because of what that influencer can do for them. They want to learn from their favorite influencers so they can apply those tactics to their own games. 

There’s a social aspect, as well. Fans play with friends from around the world and can follow influencers regardless of language barrier. They form a long-lasting attachment to the industry that’s resistant to disruption by life changes and global events.

They also tend to be interested in opinions on upcoming games, industry developments, and eSports interpersonal drama. Topics like these are likely to come up on their social networks, and fans like to have “insider information” from influencers to add to the conversation.

The relatively low barrier to entry (compared with attending sports games) lets a wider field of fans participate in eSports. For the cost of one group trip to a major sporting event, you can buy a console and a few games to get started.

All these factors- active interest in a hobby, social engagement, and the desire to make the most of their investment- create a perfect environment for eSports influencers to establish their own OTT platform.

The most lucrative OTT revenue streams are naturally effective among eSports fans.

Everything that makes OTT platforms appealing to fans also makes the platforms lucrative to influencers. 

Think about how easy it is to organically promote sponsors through gameplay, equipment, and featured accessories. In many cases viewers actively want to know what tools you’re using to win.

For the same reason, fans are attracted to the digital content that OTT platforms handle so well. Digital content- strategy guides, playthroughs, premium Q&A sessions, and the like- have low production costs and high resale value. That translates into high ROI compared to physical merchandise (though fans do like to show support through branded gear, too).

OTT and eSports: a true Win-Win situation

The best business opportunities are ones where the buyer is getting just as much out of the relationship as the seller. That’s what an eSports OTT platform can be: insider information and social connection for fans, consolidated revenue streams and richer engagement for influencers. 

If you’re looking to level up your eSports presence, it’s time to seriously consider moving your audience to an OTT platform that puts you in control. 

Ready to get started, but not sure how? Let our experts show you what’s possible!