eSports popularity in Africa

Posted on September 21, 2017 12:06 am

In Africa, eSports has been gaining fanatical followers and provide the best platform for brands in African to market their wares to millennial males despite Africa being much later to the eSports party than US, Europe and East Asia. In Africa, brands and media agencies have long appreciated the value of advertising, but a recent evolution of eSports has opened a new world of opportunity to brands.Although in game advertising has rapidly grown to become a multi million industry in Africa, the smarter money for brands is on out of game sponsorship eSports, tapping into a thriving and highly engaged community of million of fans.eSports, are competitive tournaments that will soon be serious business in Africa and have no doubt in my mind. For example, there will be a comprehensive calendar of professional video game tournaments across Africa form next year. The tournaments will be regularly watched by fans numbering in the millions on online channels, pay TV like DTSV and the popular gaming social networks. Worldwide, the most prestigious eSports tournaments have larger viewing audiences than traditional sports. At present, eSports in Africa has few sponsors outside of those that are endemic to the category like beverage companies.In conversations about eSports culture, the growth and visibility of professional gaming in Africa often functions as a baseline for discussion. The proliferation of cheap computers and the young Africans cultural acceptance of professional gaming will drive eSports to another level.This year, however, South Africa is making a case for being the country where eSports has taken root. The commercial capital, Johannesburg, played host to several extremely successful events in first half of 2017, all of which showed the world just how much the South Africans loves eSports.

It had been a long time coming before these events start bringing teams from outside South Africa into the country, and so such events will be gifts well appreciated by the gaming community in South Africa. But to understand why the pair of tournaments meant so much, it’s important to look at the history of gaming and eSports in South Africa, and how the country produced one of the largest eSports communities in the Africa but hasn’t, until recently, been especially visible beyond its borders. I saw it coming up in my research about 23 months ago as a compelling marketing proposition and I think it will only grow from here.Platforms online will make it widely accessible, which is often the barrier to a lot of emerging sports.Brands chasing a young male demographics with high disposable income would be well advised to consider backing eSports as it is developing in Africa.This is particularly for those who move early and take advantage of being one of the first brands to genuinely get involved. They will get brand credit and additional advocacy for taking a leap of faith. It is conceivable that instead of sponsoring a Caster Semenya, South African brands could put their money behind electronic superstars as eSports popularity sits alongside its more traditional counterparts.It’s hard to overstate the immediate influence of eSports in Africa. From humble beginnings in cheap, poorly lit internet cafes, just trying to pass the time with friends by playing some games, to securing thousands of dollars in prize money playing the game they love, youngsters in Africa are definitely going to drive eSports in Africa.That sounds like a fantastic deal to the average teenager in the Africa. Hopefully, the network infrastructure in the continent improves drastically within the next few years in order to better support the rising talent in the local scene. After all, with more good, consistent results come audience interest, and with audience interest come sponsorships. With sponsorships comes more prize money, and in turn a viable career in professional gaming. In my view, for the video game loving Africans, that dream is closer than it’s ever been before.

Contador Harrison