As an established influencer in the field of online enterprise solutions, Brad Nierenberg shares his insights into the future of sports and the gaming industry, noting a number of ways forward the sport industry will likely take over in coming years. The renowned business executive draws upon these analyses building from his personal observations as CEO of Washington, DC and Los Angeles based RedPeg Marketing, an award-winning experiential marketing agency. Nierenberg sees the value in eSports-related opportunities poised to capture an estimated $493 million in revenue for 2016. His two plus decades of event marketing experience coupled with his oversight of RedPeg’s specialty division in gaming, gives him a deep understanding of how big brands can leverage the future of this emerging industry. The major developments of virtual reality, game developer crowdfunding, and mainstreaming of eSports events are expected to provide excellent opportunities for businesses looking to capture an under tapped market, despite the tightly held secrets of the major players, in this dynamic, fast-moving industry.
Why is eSports exploding? Brad Nierenberg believes that societal change and technological advancements have combined to create a new type of consumer. “The iPad gave birth to an age of touch-screen natives. They are accustomed to on-demand digital engagement and play on their own terms with people around the globe. eSports events are a natural extension of this phenomenon.” Nierenberg states.
A May 31, 2016 CNN article reporting on the status of professional video gamers described seven figure incomes and stadiums filled to the brim with spectators ready to watch eSports. This market has had an explosive 29.2 percent audience growth and 42.6 percent revenue growth in 2016. The atmosphere is both unique and the same as other live sport events. ESports commentators, branded “casters,” offer insights about top players. These gamers are earning fans with loyalties as strong as those of traditional sports teams. In an article published June 21, 2016 on his website, Brad Nierenberg notes that competitions in championship gaming already receive more viewership than final games in the NBA and NHL. He believes eSports viewership is quickly going to eclipse that of the NFL. ESPN already offers a wealth of information on its website that highlights eSports champions, events, and industry news, making the transition to television broadcasts that are viewable on mobile devices a logical next step.
As players are being attracted in droves to the improvements in technologies that embrace virtual reality and augmented reality, Nierenberg believes the barriers to entry will go down as equipment costs lower, continuing the drive upward for eSports participation. PC World expects the 9.6 million VR sets shipped in 2016 will rise to 64.8 million by the year 2020, realizing compound annual growth exceeding 180 percent.
The demand for new games driven by increased access to hardware will require input from skilled developers in need of cash to create ever more complicated and realistic products. To meet those needs, crowdfunding sites have grown around this movement, with the larger traditional sites seeing high participation for gamers and developers seeking funding with vast responses on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. On the Fig site, many games easily raise as much as $3 million in short order, proving the intense interest and support for quality games.
Debate rages regarding equal treatment of physical sports competitions and their virtual game counterparts. If a growing fan base constitutes validation, eSports are true sports that Brad Nierenberg sees as validation of entrepreneurs looking for new business consumer engagement platforms. Nierenberg knows where the attention is riveted. An award-winning experiential marketer who is frequently featured in Adweek, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal, Brad Nierenberg’s deep industry intelligence provides innovative, high intensity marketing advice for high profile clients that play to win.