The Future of Sports

Epic Games incredibly popular Fortnite has been discussed on PAYDAY (the MKTG Chicago Strategy newsletter) before. Looking to capitalize on the cultural phenomenon that even had Drake playing, Epic announced a $100 million eSports investment. The plan was to bring the top Fortnite streamers together and have them compete March Madness style.  Unfortunately, the first two tournaments were disappointments. The first was canceled due to significant lag that made it impossible to play, and the second was clouded by accusations of cheating due to an underdog winning it all. But ultimately, Epic has failed at creating a unique viewing experience. The “broadcast” for fans is identical to watching YouTube or Twitch – which is fine for watching your favorite player but lacking for a large scale competition.

Overwatch, another popular online eSport game, had its finals at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and the differences in event execution were astonishing. The Overwatch broadcast resembled that of ESPN rather than Twitch, serving the existing audience while also easing in new viewers. More than 300,000 concurrent viewers tuned in online on Twitch for the finals and ESPN had their own broadcast on television. Over 22,434 fans came to watch live, which is more than the average attendance of the Brooklyn Nets games.

Fortnite’s biggest competitor, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds put on a major tournament themselves this past weekend in Berlin, and although nowhere near the popularity of Fortnite, blew the viewing experience out the water. For Fortnite it’s clear that the formula “biggest brand + loads of money” doesn’t work, and it’s an important reminder for us all that meaningful experiences win every time.

Contributed by Sina Iranikhah, MKTG Chicago

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July 31st, 2018 at 12:50 pm

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Posted in Experience