The move is rooted in the booming popularity of eSports and how the phenomenon has provoked marketers to rethink sponsorship spending
Global engagement agency, GMR Marketing, has rolled out a brand new global eSports consulting practice which will be headquartered in the United States, while key hubs are set to launch across the Americas, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa), and Asia Pacific.
The move to launch the arm is rooted in the booming popularity of eSports, a team-based competitive gaming branch which has provoked many brand marketers to rethink how they spend sponsorship dollars. A key indicator is the number of supporters set to attend the League of Legends 2015 World Championship Final in Berlin this month.
Tens of thousands are expected to flock to event being hosted at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, for which 17,000 seats were sold out in just three minutes, garnering a full-house reception. In 2014, the tournament drew an online audience of 27 million, a figure surpassing that of the World Series and NBA Finals.
According to the brand, the rise of eSports represents an increasing shift in consumer behaviour—one which has many marketers questioning old approaches to reaching young audiences. It added that with a full roster of global tournaments and a following of 205 million people across 152 countries, there is plenty of influencing to be done.
Its eSports consulting practice formalises decades of experiential, digital, creative, and strategic expertise in the gaming space. It is intended to meet the demands of brands that want to reach young digitally-minded consumers through integration into eSports competitions, teams, media, and game design.
In fact, long-time client, Microsoft, recently adopted GMR as an agency partner for eSports in the United States. The firm provides the software giant’s Xbox marketing team with consultation and programme management on the blockbuster franchise, Gears of War.
GMR has worked with a broad range of leaders in the gaming space like Comcast over the past decade. The agency has planned, managed, and executed strategic gaming sponsorships across the Americas, Asia Pacific, and Europe.
“As millennials continue to trade traditional mediums like television for digital, mobile, and social engagement, eSports offers a massive marketing platform authentic to how this consumer audience lives, communicates, and pursues their passions,” said Cameron Parsons, CEO of GMR Marketing.
“GMR’s eSports consulting practice will help brands navigate uncharted opportunities to reach and influence eSports fans, teams, competitors, and tournaments. While it’s not hard to find digital generations, truly having a measurable impact on them is another story.”