Esports Organizations Draw Up New Ways To Support Their Content Creators and Competitors
As we know, the Esports scene is extremely competitive and fierce. A roster spot is never guaranteed and early retirement is never out of the picture. As more players look forward to transitioning from professional competition to streaming and content creation, Esport organizations are protecting their investments and talent by providing team members with resources and support necessary to make the shift.
The Brutal Nature of Competitive Esports
However, not every Esports organization has adopted the model of supporting retired competitors or talent that is stepping away from the competitive scene. Many teams still seem to treat their competitive players as disposable resources, no longer of use if unable to win championships. It is not uncommon to see decisions to release entire rosters, as it happened this past summer in the Call of Duty League’s championships, with Seattle Surge dropping every single player after not getting good results. Even most recently, 100Thieves released many members of their Valorant roster after just a few competitive games after poor results. And this is not to bash 100T, as they are trying to build a winning culture and in fact, 100T has a great atmosphere for their content creators and members of the org. Like FaZe Clan, 100 Thieves uses influencers as the faces of the organization, but it has invested considerable time and funding into its competitive teams. They are moving in the right direction, as Esports competitions become more and more cut-throat and the prize pools do not justify the costs. Today, Esport organizations are codifying the player-to-content-creator life cycle in their contracts and business plans, but this does not mean that every player is able to retire into a successful podcast. Transitioning to streaming and youtubing has been a great way for pro players facing burnouts and endless stress to move on to the next chapter of their life. Here is where the transitions begin for most Esports organizations, as they move towards more of an entertainment media companies with exclusive talents.
Esports Organization Transitions to Entertainment
Just because an organization starts out focusing on competition doesn’t mean it’s locked into that strategy. “Competitive is still very important to us,” said Misfits Gaming CRO Lagen Nash. “But as you can see, in the latest executions and PR releases and things out in the market, we’re definitely leaning into content creators and influencers.” After successfully building brand awareness through its competitive efforts, Misfits now primarily features its creators in brand partnerships. And as more esports organizations move from being competitive teams to fully realized entertainment companies, they are increasingly taking advantage of the power of individual creators to connect brands to their audience. However, many of these teams have built their audiences through their efforts in competitive gaming. Though influencers are growing in prominence, their legitimacy is tied to their teams’ competitive success. Thus, both are an important part of the whole.
The esports companies of tomorrow will look something like the entertainment businesses of today. In the past few months alone, there have been partnerships between esports teams and global lifestyle brands, solidifying gaming stars and big talent agencies to deals that wouldn’t look out of place in the NFL, which proves that gaming is the furthest it’s ever been in the mainstream culture. “The biggest current question esports teams need to answer is ‘how do we make significant revenue?’. Franchise teams get a small share of league earnings in addition to prize money. Sponsorship presently provides the majority of a team’s income, but not to a level that makes a sustainable business. Teams need to diversify their revenue streams and are coming up with new and creative ways to do so.
The Value of joining or being associated with an organization.
Have you always wanted to join an org and be a part of something bigger? Well, there are many benefits to both parties. In a tangible sense, influencers get brand merchandise and gear from sponsors. In a more intrinsic sense, organizations can help channels grow by including them in group content. Ultimately, in order for creators to build a sustainable career, they need to build a brand that transcends any one game. By helping influencers get comfortable in front of a camera, and learn how to brand themselves, they can add a pretty substantial amount of value. Create value for them first, and it will be repaid in full. Even if it is unrealistic for you to join a big org like Optic clan from the start, keep grinding your content, join a smaller group of like minded people to network and eventually move your way up the “Org Ladder”.