What do Esports Orgs Actually Do?

Disrupt Gaming is approximately six months into its lifespan. On one hand this is an accomplishment in and of itself because I’ve watched…

Our man, Ghost, at DHATX18.

Disrupt Gaming is approximately six months into its lifespan. On one hand this is an accomplishment in and of itself because I’ve watched THOUSANDS of other orgs start up and then quickly disappear in that timespan. On the other hand, it means nothing because in another 6 months, should we swing and miss too many times, we could be buried in the Esports graveyard. While there are many Esports teams you could emulate, there are only a small handful that have become successful BUSINESSES.

Yes, I said it, the B word. You don’t hear it often in this industry. I think a big part of the reason why you don’t is because this industry is still learning to put it’s big boy pants on. Many orgs are being run by people who aren’t of legal drinking age. This in and of itself is not a problem, but there is a reason that the age curve of succesful company founders moves higher as the graph goes to the right. Generally speaking, the vast majority of participants in esports, indicate through their words and actions, that they don’t understand business economics in general, and even more importantly, don’t know how to apply business principles to create a sustainaible ESPORTS BUSINESS.

So, how do we view Disrupt through a business lense and how do our day to day activites align with those business objectives? First, let me start with what I believe Esports Orgs to be under the hood. This is an OPINION that I’ve formed and we execute against this concept. An Esports Org, at it’s core, is an entertainment organization that captures the attention of an audience via valuable content (stories). This content, of course, is centered on gaming. The organization, then, monetizes this audience’s attention by integrating brands (aka sponsors) into their stories. This type of organic exposure is FAR more valuable to brands (both endemic and non-endemic) than paid advertising. That’s it! That is what I believe to be the nuts and bolts of Esports. There are other revenue streams available, like merchandise, but these are all ultimately tied to how engaging you are as an org. If you aren’t telling compelling stories, you won’t have a strong fan base. If you don’t have a strong fan base, you won’t sell merchandise. You can apply this same logic to other revenue streams (YouTube monetization, ticket sales, etc). Even at the highest levels of Esports (LoL, OW, DOTA2), media rights exist because the audience is ENGAGED in the story.

On a day to day basis at Disrupt, we are constantly figuring out ways to engage our audience. Currently, we mostly do this through gameplay based content, however, we are transitioning to a bit more sophisticated content plan based on IRL storytelling. A limiting factor in all of this, naturally, is budget. We don’t have millions of dollars to spend on content production(yet ;)), so we make do with what we have. One thing that I personally take a lot of pride in, is our ability to MAXIMIZE the ROI of our content expenditures. From a pure numbers standpoint we are 10Xing some of our competition. As we scale, I anticipate a loss of efficiency in exchange for total volume.

In addition to content planning and execution, we have a consistent business development plan. This is similar to other biz dev positions in other industries. Reaching out to, and negotiating with brands who are interested in exposure to our audience is the name of the game. Lastly, we deal with the logistics of managing a large content/competitive team. This means making sure our partners are getting MORE than they bargained for when they signed with us, making sure our competitive rosters are focused and ready for gaming battles, and just generally keeping the machine well lubricated and running smooth.

There you have it. Hopefully I don’t take too much heat for demystifying a large part of Esports. If any of our competitors out there are reading this, no problem! Ultimately, ideas are a dime a dozen. The magic lies in execution. And if you know me, or followed me at all, you’ll know that I’m not worried about being “out executed”.

Thanks for reading.

MF