We all heard the exciting news: giant retailer Alibaba is setting sails on the eSports market through its subsidiary sport division Alisport. Can iconic entrepreneur Jack Ma conquer yet another market?
CEO of AliSports, Zhang Dazhong, had the following to say post-announcement:
“Sports is a multibillion dollar business in China, with
massive growth potential. That is why Alibaba is investing heavily in this
vertical. Linking sport and technology enhances the quality of life. That is
what we want to do through AliSports.”
With an initial $15.6M investment poured into a $5.5M international
event followed by 20 eSports Club Competition Centres holding 1200+ tournaments,
the “Chinese Amazon” means business here. And talking about Amazon…
Haven’t seen this before ? Yep, Amazon, the other leading
retailer fished Twitch for $970M back in 2014, beating Youtube at the finish
line. Since then, Twitch has been growing up at a fast pace and is opening to
new types of streamers such as developers, creatives and foodies.
This trend is the one of gigantic retailers acquiring or
producing content to feed the millions of products they sell. And eSport may be
the best bet yet. It reconnects with the younger generation while being deeply
associated with technology, hi-end gear and sports, all hi-spending markets.
We’ve all read the studies and estimates from the likes of
Newzoo and Superdata, promising a new Gold Rush for both Gaming and Sports
industries. The estimates are cool, but the facts are even better:
- The last 3 major CS:GO tournament all surpassed
the million concurrent viewers mark.
- Clash Royale, Supercell’s take on eSports already brings more than $1.5M per
- The International 5 money prize is on par with
Tennis Major tournament.
- Merchandising and Broadcasting rights on the rise.
- 21.3% of Twitch viewers come for eSports.
- Coca Cola. Yahoo. Verizon. ESPN. Intel.
All the ingredients seem to mix perfectly for the long
awaited eSports explosion as a mass culture. But we shall not overlook the competition barebone: tournaments.
They come in all sizes and shapes, the few big ones and hundred thousands small ones,
multiplied by a growing number of eSports. There were 2 majors eSports (CS and
Starcraft) and a few notable ones (Quake, FIFA) back in the days, with a few dozens
organizers in key territories for each.
Nowadays, we can count at least 5 major eSports (CS, LoL,
DotA 2, Hearthstone and Call of Duty) and dozens of noticeable ones (Starcraft
II, Heroes Of The Storm, FIFA, World of Tanks, Vainglory, Street Fighter V…),
all operated by thousands of operators and publishers all over the globe!
This massive expansion of the eSports tournaments occurred
without any rules, do’s and don’ts or framework. From the grass root scene to the
big operators, everyone went its way, resulting in highly variable experiences
We can observe this issue with scenes such as the FGC (Fighting Games
Community), which sees all of its organizers use different in-house or third
parties platform to handle their tournament and share their results, leading to
a lively but nearly impossible to track eSport scene. That’s why we created
Providing a powerful, free, unified platform for every
eSport professional is the motto driving Toornament. With a smooth experience
and advanced features, free, web-standardized API, we aim to unify the way
people run and follow eSports tournaments.
The Alisport announcement deeply resonates with us: its ambitious plans encompass most of the
current eSport spectrum: one top tier event combined with hundreds of local
competitions all year long in dedicated eSports centers. And they may run into
the issue we talked about: how to build such different tournaments and provide content the
most efficient and consistent way possible?
We believe in eSports and have been working in the industry
for more than 15 years, with both local associations and Fortune500 publishers.
We believe their eSports projects start from a common ground: building great
tournaments and share them the best possible way. We believe Toornament is
shaping to be THE answer to this crucial challenge, whether you’re a local association or Alibaba.