A week of news covering the intersection of business and gaming / esports, all in about one minute – everything you need to know from the “profit of esports” himself.
050 – May 23, 2021
In this week’s Business of Esports Minute: OWL & CDL Get Drunk, Sony Esports Betting, and NFL Skillz Game.
The Call of Duty League and the Overwatch League recently announced they are loosening restrictions on the types of sponsorship deals that franchises can make with outside companies. This means that both leagues will allow individual teams to obtain sponsorship deals from previously excluded sectors, such as gambling and liquor businesses. We continue to see signs of desperation from Activision Blizzard’s franchised leagues. They had previously towed a very lofty family-friendly line. Now that the leagues are struggling to generate revenue, grow, or attract an audience, it makes sense that previous ideals would be sacrificed for profit. It’s unlikely that either league will lose much in the way of viewership as a consequence of this change, and it should open up new revenue opportunities, but it still stinks of desperation.
Sony Interactive Entertainment recently filed a patent to create an “esports betting system.” Sony is considering setting up a service in which Esports fans can watch matches, while the same service advertises and hosts a way to bet on the results. The seamless layering of betting on top of esports matches just makes so much sense and maybe one of the best ways to monetize esports. The fact that Sony is looking at this kind of functionality (and spending time getting patents for it) completely legitimizes the entire esports betting opportunity. There are exciting things ahead in the esports betting space and it will be interesting to see if Sony wants to be a major player there.
As part of a partnership with gaming platform Skillz, the National Football League has begun accepting applications for the Game Developer Challenge being co-hosted by the two organizations. Developers will have a chance to submit their ideas for an NFL-inspired mobile game that will debut near the beginning of the 2022 NFL season. I love this for so many reasons. Skillz attracts new developers to their platform with this contest. They get at least one premium mobile game on their platform with a complete NFL tie-in. It cements the partnership between the NFL and Skillz that was established in 2019. And for the NFL, they get their branding in front of millions of mobile gamers, and a football-inspired game that will likely be more successful than anything they could have produced on their own.
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