Why the NBA, NFL and MLS Are Trying to Compete With Established Esports Leagues

Attracting different types of advertisers and building out their brands

It’s no secret esports is booming as mainstream media companies like ESPN and Turner Broadcasting sign on—all with an eye toward reaching young men and the advertisers that would follow. But for the most part, the bulk of hard-core gamers is still drawn to Amazon’s Twitch and YouTube, streaming the less brand-friendly, first-person shooter games like Call of Duty, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch. But now professional sports leagues are beginning to partner with Twitch, as well as cable nets ESPN2 and Disney XD, and are ushering brands into the burgeoning esports space. With 2 billion gamers on the planet and 385 million interested in watching esports, gaming has huge potential.

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This story first appeared in the April 30, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.