E-sports and retail forex – Guest Editorial
FX industry executive Paul Orford engages with Van Hawke Sports CEO Sunny Singh to look at the correlation between e-sports and FX.
The following is a guest editorial by Paul Orford, Head of Institutional Sales at Inflyx.
In forex we often pat ourselves on the back for being at the vanguard of technological innovation and with finding new areas to use in making our companies as profitable as possible.
Over the past couple of years, we have seen the exponential rise of brokers sponsoring everything from football stars and Formula One to Mads Mikkelsen dressed stereotypically in black, looking pensive and playing chess.
I’ve often found that there’s a distinct lack of innovation in branding, with one broker following the other in what they believe works.
For the past several years, I’ve witnessed in Asia the booming industry of e-sports and wondered why retail forex brokers never seem to sponsor these events.
The e-sport World Cup is currently underway and being watched by over 80,000 spectators in a stadium right now with countless millions viewing online.
With our industry continuously looking for new ways to penetrate, why has this never been considered? Based on a cursory look at the industry, brokers appear to prefer to spend marketing dollars on becoming the official stop loss provider of Bolton Wanderers Football Club.
To understand more about e-sports, I spoke with one of the leading names in the sector, Sunny Singh, the CEO of Van Hawke Sports. Van Hawke are known as one of the premier names in positioning a brand with sportspeople and teams.
Sunny says ‘More than 50% of the briefs we receive from forex brands are in relation to eSports opportunities. This is not surprising when taking into account the successes of eSports celebrated in the past years.’
He went on further to add ‘More traditional sports franchises have begun offering an eSport alternative to bridge the gap to existing and new audiences. For example, the Formula One eSports Series and the Fifa eWorld Cup.’
I was still curious about the demographics that can be tapped into, as everything boils down to dollars and cents. Sunny elaborated: ‘The dynamism alone of the eSports market attracts an audience which is high-value and global, and its numbers are rising. For 2020 there are over 500 million eSports fans predicted compared to 350 million in 2017, growth rates which are non-comparable to any traditional sports.’
Moreover, ‘The audience demographic can be described as being predominately digital natives, with up to 75% under 36 years of age who are positively engaged with brands, advertising and influencers. This highly targeted group are perfect for brands operating in the FX space due to their capacity to be early adopters of technology and multipliers of experience.’
This leads me to two conclusions with massive upsides. Firstly, it will be interesting to see how this market evolves in conjunction with forex. Secondly, I can now recalibrate my Xbox controller and ingest my body weight in Pringles while trying to convince my significant other that playing for 18 hours straight will make me an e-sports superstar!
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