Fully-charged Game-First Community Strategy takes ESL to the Next Level

Fabian Scheuermann dives deep into the esports industry, how ESL's Game Management department is capitalizing on it and the roadmap.

Fully-charged Game-First Community Strategy takes ESL to the Next Level
Image Credits: ESL

The esports industry is booming and ESL is right at the heart of the action. With market revenues set to reach $1.1 billion by the close of 2020 for esports, the industry is developing rapidly – and we are transforming to deliver a new era of game-first esports & community experiences.

For the last 10 months, ESL has been architecting a new community-focused strategy that will harness the energy of the flourishing esports ecosystem and ultimately reshape it for an elevated future.  We have established an industry-first “Game Management” department, designed to extract the most value for the community by using content not only during traditionally based competitions but to create an effective year-long fan engagement machine. We are not only focusing on live viewership, but also a short-form and video-on-demand content ecosystem. With new consumption habits of fans arising, those formats are incredibly important to maximise the impact and reach of our competitions.

This enables us to deliver better experiences for the community, grow fan bases and deepen our relationships with commercial partners around the world. It achieves this by creating a story for each game end-to-end, essentially creating a constant storyline that is accessible and digestible for all – bringing in new audiences and creating pathways for the all-important journey from zero to hero.

Game Management is ESL’s central department, building communities across ecosystems and game products while creating exciting, year-long storylines for consumers and managing the P&Ls of each game. The Game Management team consists of 50% ESL and 50% DreamHack members following the merger – bringing the best of both worlds to the table. Meanwhile, it is the driver of new product development and innovation of existing games. Games like Rocket League and Fortnite that now form part of our portfolio, underscore ESL’s ongoing commitment to delivering the best competition to the community. 

Image Credits: ESL

Why now?

To stay ahead of the game, we are always innovating. With communities, consumption habits and the complexity of the esports ecosystem changing over the last few years, along with expectations from all stakeholders, innovation is essential. Game Management is transforming ESL on a game-by-game basis, by focusing on resonating with communities and turning users into fans with always-on content. We are building a community engagement machine that delivers consumers hyper-relevant content – from highlights to original content across key platforms – that truly brings the gaming experience alive. 

This evolution is essential in a world where new games are exploding onto the esports scene. This puts greater pressure on the way in which publishers bring a game to life and maintain engagement with the “competitive” community – so our relationships with publishers are closer than ever. Equally, with gamers’ expectations and brand engagement evolving with every game, being as close as possible to their wants and needs is key to ESL making the right investment decisions. By bringing the community and stakeholders closer, we are reinforcing ESL’s position as a market leader globally, giving gamers what they want when they want it.

Looking ahead

The creation of the Games Management department signals the dawn of a new era for ESL. We are moving from a live-event centric company to an ecosystem- and community-platform provider. This new strategy is a testament to our successes so far – it is also the cornerstone of our future. The pandemic has accelerated this shift, adding emphasis to the need for flexibility and innovation when it comes to creating exceptional content for the competitive communities.

While we continue to see live experiences with athletes being elevated to stars, building a strong, engaged user-base is a major strategic priority for ESL as we look ahead. Staying flexible to this ever-changing environment with a clear community-centric mindset and a suitable organisational structure will be core to our success. Following our brand purpose to create a world “where everybody can be somebody”, we look forward to growing our communities even better, on a game by game base – welcome to the next level.

Link to the Original post: Fabian Scheuermann's Article