Brand Safety in the Growing Esports Arena

Posted by Brand Safety Institute • Apr 28, 2023 7:00:00 AM

Esports is rapidly growing in popularity as more and more people go online to compete in sporting competitions and watch their favorite players compete in some of the biggest esport games. As the industry continues to grow, brands are taking notice of its potential for advertising and marketing. Per Newzoo's Global Esports and Live Streaming Market Report 2021, the esports market was expected to reach $1.08 billion in 2021, and topped out at $1.39 billion in 2022, signaling the vibrancy of this growing category. The majority of this revenue is coming from sponsorships, advertising, and media rights.

A MediaPost article points out some of the most effective advertising tactics in esports are sponsorships, influencer marketing, and in-game advertising. Brands are also experimenting with new formats, such as virtual events and experiential marketing, to create unique experiences for fans. Esports represents a huge opportunity for brands to reach a young, tech-savvy audience, but as always, it creates new concerns around brand safety, particularly those related to toxicity and negative association; always a risk in the livestreaming space.

Recently, Digiday explored the topic of toxicity, and how it takes many forms in esports including harassment, abuse, and hate speech directed towards players, fans, and even sponsors. This can make it difficult for brands to align themselves with esports in a way that is both effective and responsible. Ultimately, it comes down to having a strong enough understanding of brand safety practices to be able to apply them to emerging spaces.

As the industry continues to evolve, it's important for brands to stay informed and up-to-date, and mindful of best practices to ensure that they protect their reputation, and partners in the supply chain uphold their responsibility. It will be exciting to see how brands adapt and innovate to take advantage of this space. The ball is in the court of the brands, and it’s time for bold moves. 

Topics: Brand Safety, Knowing Your Partners, Privacy, YouTube, Brand Suitability, Social Responsibility, measurement, data, content, best practices, vendors, marketing, competition, CTV, Social Media, trust, gaming, live-streaming, content creators, digital advertising, contextual advertising, ad placement, retail media, esports