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eSports Marketing is massive in SA but where are the advertisers?

Globally, the video gaming industry is seven times the size of the music business and three times the size of Hollywood. In South Africa, the gaming industry is expected to bring in revenue to the tune of R3.6 billion by the end of 2019. So why are brands not taking advantage?

Michael King, Head of Reprise Digital, an IPG Mediabrands company, says that despite the massive audience that makes up gamers in South Africa, only a tiny portion of brands are getting involved. “In the last couple of years the gaming industry has grown to half a billion people globally with the industry showing a 30%-50% growth year on year for the past three years. In 2020, streaming of games is expected to reach the same viewership as the NFL. That’s massive! I’m predicting that within the next two or three Olympics, there’ll be a competitive gaming section included.”

Consider a couple of gaming tournaments that have just concluded at a global level. The International, a Dota 2 Competition, had a prize pool of $30 million! That’s an event ten times more lucrative than the Tour de France. To put it into perspective, if you were one of the players in the winning team you would’ve earned more money than Djokovic or Halep for winning Wimbledon in 2019.

“There is a great opportunity for digital marketers in South Africa to reach one of the biggest growth industries in the world tied to one of the hardest to reach audiences – Generation Ys and Zs. We know that this market does not respond to traditional ‘push’ methods of advertising. Rather, they respond to friend reviews, suggestions and online ‘word of mouse’ to shape their decision making processes. This is why influencer marketing is so successful in this space.  According to, nearly 90% of all marketers find that ROI from Influencer Marketing is comparable to, or better, than other marketing channels.

Its commonplace to see gaming related brands like Xbox, Playstation, Razer etc dominate the advertising space to this market on platforms like YouTube and Twitch but more recently the likes of Red Bull and Gillette have entered this space on an international scale.

“Sure, eSports in South Africa is currently tiny in comparison to the global market but R3.6 billion in South Africa is nothing to sneeze at. The local gaming industry is offering huge opportunities to reach the younger audience and gives brands the opportunity to get in early. Vodacom for instance is the headline sponsor for the annual rAge expo in September this year and there are so many more opportunities for brands outside of the gaming category to capitalise on this market.

The future is bright for eSports in this country and we’re excited to watch it develop and grow over the next few years. Brands that are brave enough to jump into this category will absolutely reap the rewards of their investment.”

Reprise Digital SA DNA

Reprise is a digital-first agency, and everything we do is rooted in understanding how consumers interact across apps, sites, IOT-devices, bots, search engines, and social platforms. We uncover your audience based upon their digital fingerprints – and build a media approach to help transform your business digitally. Reprise has the ability to fuse smart digital approaches for our media agency partners in smart and sophisticated ways.

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