While esports may have once stood for a subset of sports culture, it has grown into a full industry in its own right. Esports and gaming have burst into the mainstream in recent years, transforming from a vibrant niche to a central form of entertainment around the world, and ticket sales are transitioning from the arena, to the internet. That shift has been powered by championing from mainstream celebrities and an increasing amount of coverage from traditional outlets like ESPN, and, at least in part, the breakneck rise of Fortnite. A report from Business Insider’s Insider Intelligence stated that: “As competitive video games continue to integrate into popular culture, global investors, brands, media outlets, and consumers are all paying attention. Total esports viewership is expected to grow at a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023, up from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023, per Insider Intelligence estimates.
That puts the esports audience on pace to nearly double over a six-year period, as the 2017 audience stood at 335 million.” The pop-culturization of esports has helped power the explosions in esports investment and revenue. Esports has hit this stratosphere in large part because of the social component of live streaming and gaming. Video gaming-specific streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming give fans a direct connection to the players and teams, while more mainstream socials have allowed those connections to flourish. Certain esports organizations, like FaZe Clan, are also moving aggressively into areas like merchandise, lending their brands more notoriety than if they’d stuck to esports alone. Active tech companies in the markets this week include Versus Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: VS), Caesars Entertainment, Inc., Penn National Gaming, Inc., Glu Mobile Inc. (NASDAQ: GLUU), Super League Gaming,.
Rick Yang, partner at NEA — a venture capital firm that invests in esports — underscored this in a conversation with Insider Intelligence: “I actually think of esports as the mainstreaming of gaming, or the pop culture instantiation of gaming versus the pure idea of these players becoming professionals to compete at the highest levels.” It’s essential to think of the esports opportunity in this way — one inclusive of gaming, media, pop culture, and commerce — as it shines a light on opportunities beyond gaming events alone.
Versus Systems Announces Strategic Partnership With Frias Agency – Versus to Work with the Agency Representing Constellation Brands, Corona, Crush + Canelo Alvarez & Matchroom Boxing – Versus Systems today announced a strategic partnership with full-service experiential marketing agency, Frias Agency (“Frias”), to power the technology behind interactive experiences for live events and digital activations.
Frias Agency clients include iconic beverage brands from Constellation Brands, such as Corona, Cerveza Modelo, Cerveza Pacifico, Crush, Kim Crawford, Meiomi, Blue Chair Bay, and Casa Noble. Frias also works with major athletes like Canelo Alvarez and sports promoters like Matchroom Boxing and Premier Boxing Champions. The Versus partnership with Frias expects to extend prizing into live sporting events starting Summer 2021 for soccer, boxing, wrestling and MMA, as well as live music festivals and tours.
“Versus is proud to announce another world-class partner to help us to bring our real-world prizing and rewards to global audiences,” said Matthew Pierce, CEO of Versus Systems. “We look forward to working with Frias and their partners to bring rewards to players and fans at some of the world’s most exciting live events, whether they’re at the venue, at home, or wherever they’re watching from.”
“We are thrilled to bring the unique experiences Versus Systems builds to our events,” said Andre Martelly, CEO of Frias. “The combination of Versus’ technology and our multi-national, multi-platform audience reach will produce mutual benefits for years to come.”