By Lisa Utzschneider
In just a few short years, esports has grown from a niche opportunity to a global phenomenon. Think professional gaming attracts a smaller audience than your favorite football rivalry? Think again. Audiences have skyrocketed as fans flock to watch teams play League of Legends and other favorites live.
And the crowds are living online. For many brands, esports may feel like uncharted territory, but savvy marketers are taking advantage of the chance to reach such an engaged audience at scale.
After all, it's hard to talk about esports and the draw for marketers without pointing to the incredible passion of its fans. There's a massive sense of community around esports, and keep in mind that it's not just about watching professional gamers go head to head, but also gathering to learn and debate the latest strategies, players and tournaments. It's no surprise then that major brands like General Mills and agencies like Mindshare North America have noted the opportunities in esports. Mindshare NA's research even shows that the esports audience is more complex than you might think—while over half of fans are millennials, 60 percent of esports fans are between the ages of 25 and 39, many are parents, and 38 percent are women.