With professional sports leagues on hiatus during the pandemic, there's been a stunning rise in gaming and eSports.
This coincides with the beta-launch of Media Central Corporation's (CSE: FLYY, FSE: 3AT) newest platform, ECentralSports.com. It's scheduled to go live in May.
The Ontario-based company owns the Georgia Straight alternative paper in Vancouver, Toronto-based NOW magazine, and CannCentral.com, a digital cannabis lifestyle publication.
"The audience psychographics of eSports and gaming enthusiasts directly aligns with our existing audience of 6.5 million market and cultural pace setters,” Brian Kalish, CEO of MediaCentral, said in a company news release. “ECentralSports will acquire and scale traffic by leveraging readership from our current high-performing titles, opening up immediate opportunities to monetize the new channel through an integrated editorial, display advertising, affiliate marketing, and omnichannel sponsored content strategy, designed to benefit our advertising partners.”
On April 15, Newzoo forecast that eSports will generate more than US$1 billion in revenue in 2020, rising to US$1.6 billion in 2023. The entire global games market, according to Newzoo, was US$152.1 billion in 2019.
The astonishing appeal of eSports has attracted the attention of major brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Louis Vuitton, and BMW, which are sponsoring eSports tournaments.
Writing in AdWeek, Havas Media senior vice president Paul Traeger noted that the $30-million prize pool for Dota 2: The International eSports tournament was almost three times what was awarded at the Super Bowl or the 2020 Masters Tournament.
Since the pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, the Straight and NOW have ramped up eSports content.
This has included covering iconic entertainment entrepreneur and Beats Electronics cofounder Jimmy Iovine's investment in the FaZe Clan eSports pipeline.
"The data shows a 37 percent increase of users' session length on eSports content, a 10.5 percent improved click-through on newsletters containing eSports content and 8.5 percent above average page views for eSports content," MediaCentral stated in its news release. "This illustrates the existence of a fan base who will readily convert to ECentralSports.com once launched."