The E-Sports Industry: A Marketing Channel for Energy and Sports Nutrition Supplements?
Despite the initial skepticism and continued resistance from many, e-sports have proven to be an increasingly popular spectator sporting event. Beginning as small gaming contests, the e-sports industry has now evolved into a multi-billion-dollar venture, attracting many gamers to compete professionally and prompting major sports corporations to build dedicated e-sports divisions.
As games continue to deliver fascinating and engaging content, along with unique branding avenues, the global value of the e-sports market is set to reach $5.48 billion in 2029 from 2023’s $1.44 billion. Sponsorships from brands across industries like gaming and computer hardware, online video streaming, athletic wear, and beverage make up the majority of the revenue in the global e-sports market (over $850 million in 2023), making it a highly lucrative marketing channel. And as these professional gamers are e-sports athletes, supplement brand owners can use these platforms to promote energy and sports nutrition supplements to support the needs of e-sports gamers.[I]
The Growth of the E-Sports Industry
The growing popularity of the e-sports industry can no longer be ignored as the global e-sports events attract over 540 million viewers, up from 435.7 million viewers in 2020 and set to reach 640.8 million viewers by 2025. As a result, major corporations, and media outlets, like ESPN, Electronic Arts, and Activision Blizzard, have started to recognize e-sports as athletic events and dedicate resources to cover them. From the perspective of brand owners and marketing executives, this is a new and unique channel to add to their marketing mix and target a niche customer segment through engaging platforms.[I]
This holds especially true for supplement brand owners as the need and demand for energy and nutrition supplements geared towards gamers' needs are increasing with the growing popularity of the e-sports industry. Focusing on aspects like energy, cognition, focus, and hydration can open numerous opportunities for supplement brands to attract gamers and convince them to integrate nutrition supplements into their daily lives. But any supplement brand entering the e-sports segment needs to understand that the competition from energy and sports drink giants is massive, and they will need to build an authentic brand personality featuring convenience and familiarity if they want to attract tech-savvy gamers.[ii]
The Need for Energy and Nutrition in E-Sports
With millions on the line as prize money or sponsorship deals, e-sports gamers are adopting rigid training regimes, not unlike traditional athletes, to hone their cognitive abilities and battle the physical and mental strain of prolonged screen exposure. However, the sedentary nature of e-sports exposes e-sports athletes to musculoskeletal injuries, metabolic disturbances, and mental health issues.[vii] And although e-sports gamers have been relying on energy and sports drinks (high in sugar and caffeine content) to combat many of these issues, these new-age cognitive athletes are looking at alternative functional products that can protect their physical and mental health.
Supplement brand owners are taking this opportunity to introduce products that can improve gamers’ energy, endurance, cognitive health, eye health, dexterity, reaction times, and accuracy during practice and tournaments. And with clinically-backed ingredients, convenient delivery formats, and unique branding, plant-based formulations are becoming popular as gaming supplements are working for cognitive athletes.[iii][iv]
How to Market Supplements in E-Sports?
If you want to expand your supplement product line to grow with the international e-sports market, here are some tips for marketing energy and sports nutrition supplements in the e-sports industry:
Build an Authentic Brand Image
Authenticity is the key to success in the e-sports supplement niche, as gamers are more inclined to support their own. So, supplement brand owners need to highlight how they can positively impact the gamer community. This includes building a product range focused on the specific needs of the gamers, straying away from preconceived notions about gamers and standalone products.[ii][v][vi]
Break Away from the Stereotypical Gamer Profile
An extension of building an authentic brand image is breaking away from the stereotypical “gamer” demographic. A typical gamer may have been young, male, and Caucasian in the past, but with the diverse content coming out from game creators, the gamer profile has also diversified. In fact, Asia is one of the fastest emerging markets for e-sports gamers and viewers. So, build a marketing strategy that appeals to a more diverse gamer community instead of focusing on a “typical gamer.”[v]
Leverage Social Media Channels and Influencer Marketing to Reach Your Target Customers
E-sports are spectator events, and professional gamers have no less influence than elite athletes in this niche segment. So, use social media channels and influencers to your advantage, collaborating with them to create content that can help you spread the word about your brand.[ii][v][vi]
Sponsor E-Sports Events
Sponsorship is the biggest revenue stream in the e-sports industry, including sponsoring a team, organizing competitions, or sponsoring prizes. This gives you a great opportunity to gain visibility among your target customers and get your marketing message across.[I][ii][v]
Challenges and Considerations
However, marketing to an e-sports audience is not as straightforward as traditional or even modern digital marketing strategies. Some key challenges and considerations brand owners must be conscious of while strategizing their marketing approach include:
The regulations around gaming supplements have since evolved as e-sports started gaining recognition and popularity worldwide. And now, the e-sports industry only allows complementary medicine-based or plant-based supplements. So, focusing on vitamins, minerals, and nutrients is a gamer’s need, and staying away from any pharmaceuticals, should be your priority when formulating the supplement.
The convenience of taking the supplements is key for gamers as convenient formats can help them easily incorporate the supplements into their daily routine. So, focusing on beverages, gummies, or capsule supplements and highlighting their convenience in your marketing messaging can make it easier for you to reach your target audience.[ii][iii]
Outlandish Perform Claims
Refrain from making any outlandish performance claims about your supplements. Not only is this unethical – and potentially illegal – but modern gamers are extremely intelligent and tech-savvy. They are skeptical about outlandish performance claims and can easily find information about the ingredients and their effects on gamers. So, focus on clinically-backed ingredients and set realistic expectations in your marketing message.[ii]
Hyper-Localized Global Strategic Marketing Plan
E-sports spectators and players are scattered around the globe, so ensure your marketing strategy accounts for that.. However, what works in one country may not work in another, which also holds for content from one game to another. You also need the ability to hyper-localize your marketing strategy to meet the expectations of the game genre, country, or specific e-sports communities. Additionally, you also need to work around the ad blockers and still reach your customers as they watch the e-sports streams. So, having a flexible strategic marketing plan can help you ensure you are effectively reaching your target audience.[viii]
How Can NutraScience Labs Help You Manufacture Custom Dietary Supplements for Gamers?
With more than 120 years of combined nutraceutical industry experience, NutraScience Labs has an impeccable reputation for being the go-to contract manufacturer for supplement brands seeking to formulate and manufacture high-quality dietary supplement formulas. In addition to our award-winning contract manufacturing services, our full-service packaging & label design and fulfillment services have saved more than 2,300 supplement businesses countless amounts of time, money, and stress.
If you are thinking about capitalizing on the growing demand for supplements from gamers, then contact our team today! Call 855-492-7388 to speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives, or send us your request to receive a competitive supplement manufacturing price quote free of charge.