Big Block, the creative services and production provider for the NFL, ESPN and Under Armour (among others), has announced the hire of former ESL Gaming executive Ed Tomasi to lead its esports division.
Tomasi’s appointment is a strategic move for the company’s vision, taking advantage of an esports market poised to break out in the coming years.
Given esports’ anticipated growth — esports revenues are expected to balloon to $1.5 billion by 2020 — brand investments are poised to double as well. As Big Block CEO Seven Volpone notes, Tomasi’s addition is a major opportunity for Big Block to be at the forefront of esports growth via broadcast and VOD.
Turner’s ELeague is doing its own work pushing esports into the mainstream, with broadcasts on TBS and online. It’s a ground-up approach for them, attracting new and young viewers (more than 9 million so far), as well as sponsors. The broadcasts also present different challenges around explaining the action to newcomers versus the assumed knowledge of long-time fans.
That space between new viewers and the veterans is where Big Block (and others) see major potential for esports from a business perspective. Between the aforementioned TBS broadcasts, other streaming and broadcast contracts with major networks, NFL and NBA involvement, and more — it’s no mystery why Big Block was ready to build out this esports practice with Tomasi at the helm.
Tomasi understands the unique steps to galvanizing support within the esports ecosystem — a perspective many entering the space don’t necessarily share.
“There are so many considerations to balance when marketing to the gaming and esports audiences,” said Tomasi. “Done right, these passionate, powerful communities respond very positively. The esports ecosystem is still very layered and fragmented. Marketers must know how to navigate and communicate with each segment individually, authentically. esports is still in its infancy, with new opportunities arriving every day. That makes knowing when and where to pivot essential.”
To address the fast-growing industry’s needs, Big Block is also making this move about expanding its creative efforts and focus. The company already specializes in helping brands navigate new spaces with content production, interactive installations and digital experiences. That expertise fits right in with esports’ relatively new opportunity for many brands just entering the vertical for currently untapped lifestyle marketing.
These marketing opportunities can range anywhere from league/team sponsorship, to advertising and experiential marketing activations all around esports broadcast properties. Esports’ infancy in the marketing space provides a blank canvas with which to work on new and innovative ideas implementing creative business and media technology offerings together. This is one of many moves being made to see esports continue its exponential growth through more media exposure.