ISPO Open Innovation Study

eSports, gaming, EXERGAMING, the future of mobility, advertising impact, new sports topics. On the ISPO Open Innovation Platform, eSports fans and gamers were able to express themselves on these topics and give their opinion. The findings from the Future of Sports survey are now available for free download as a white paper.

A very important takeaway for the sports industry: one potential area of interest in the eSports community is digital tools like wearables and apps to complement traditional sports.

Additionally, 70 percent of participants in the Future of Sports project said they have used apps while playing sports.

What is the aim of the international sports industry trade fair platform ISPO with this study?

In February 2020, the eSports and gaming events for ISPO Munich 2020 were successfully implemented. In this context, the results of the first survey with ISPO Munich on the topic of the LAN of the future were published. This was done in cooperation with the educational institute Campus M21. Exciting was that in the Twitch Live Stream the results were hotly discussed in the community. As a result, the feedback and the high engagement were a good sign for the implementation of next topics and activations.

The goal of the project team FOD and ISPO: In the eSports Ecosystem, further added value is to be created for the gaming and eSports community. But at the same time, real learnings and knowledge in the topic should be generated as educational content for the B2B target group of the ISPO network.

Rocket League as Engagement Driver

The solution: to implement a survey in the eSports and gaming target group and share the generated knowledge with the sports industry and other interested industries and stakeholders.

A very important ingredient: reach. Here, Messe München has already tried out many themes. Besides EA FIFA, League of Legends or Nintendo Mario Kart broadcasts, Rocket League has emerged as the topic with the highest reach.

Especially the specially developed format AMD Masters always stood for a very good digital reach in the round of activations in the ISPO network. Here, up to 120 teams have registered for the events AMD MASTERS 2019, AMD MASTERS ES_COM, AMD Masters Winter 2020 in tournament format. This means the target audience was authentically targeted and addressed in the tournaments with a really great experience online and offline. The sponsor AMD and the content partner Team Firewall have implemented these activations professionally and authentically as enablers.

Now we could inspire the fans and players we have addressed in this tournament format in the next step with more tournaments on the ISPO Digitize Twitch Channel and in the coverage. Because ISPO Digitize and FOD were able to secure the license of the Rocket League World Championship tournaments.

The most important ingredient: content. ISPO and Force of Disruption were able to secure the broadcast rights to RLCS9 from publisher Psyonix and rights marketer IMG and once again step into the role of eSports live broadcaster with Team Firewall.

Twitch and social media as drivers

With this content, we were able to achieve very good coverage on the Twitch channel ISPO Digitize. And it was clear that this target group would also be important for our survey. We were able to convert to the survey not only in the 8 live broadcasts. The topic "interest in your opinion" was also really important in the complete coverage.

With the strategy of playing relevant content in our authentic range, we were also able to score with the largest eSports live platform. Because on Twitch.tv we landed in the recommendation roundel for the German-speaking market with our content and could actually reach 350,000 viewers. With a watchtime of almost 1,900,000 minutes (total time spent with the content by all viewers), we were among the most successful Rocket League broadcasts in Europe.

For the teams it was again about a prize pool of around 1,000,000 US dollars. For us, it was about establishing a real anchor point for the exchange of opinions between fans and players.

"ISPO has recognized the potential of eSports and Rocket League. I'm looking forward to the biggest RLCS season yet with this partner."

Arne Löffler,Managing Director Team FireWall GbR.


Strong partners

The questions, deep expertise and overall concept of the survey support enablers from the eSports industry in the next step.

EXERGAMING companies like Sphery, the energy drink provider Hype Energy, the gamer brand Tentelian Gaming, and the University of Applied Management were also on board, as well as the Esports backpack brand Ority. Each partner was able to submit their questions into the funnel to get the most valuable and accurate feedback from the community. Over 150 prizes with a total value of over 5,000 EUR were raffled off to the participants.

770 participants filled out the very complex questionnaire. And the results of the survey and learnings in the areas of mobility, advertising in eSports, connection possibilities of traditional sports and eSports, gamification of sports and many other aspects we have summarized with ISPO and our partners in a white paper - download now for free - We are now looking forward to the further dialogue on the topics and results.

The results

Streams as a starting point for brands

One finding of the survey among the target group of the Rocket League community: eSports is a young sport. This is because 43 percent of the participants were younger than 20 years old. The largest participating group was 20- to 29-year-olds, who made up 45 percent. Only 12 percent were 30 years or older.

Contrary to the general trend towards smartphones, eSports is at home on stationary devices, especially among the Rocket League fan community addressed: 61 percent of respondents played on computers, 37 percent on game consoles such as the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. Only 3 percent played via smartphone. As an eSports broadcast medium, streams on platforms such as Twitch or YouTube are the first choice. Only 5 percent of those surveyed said they did not watch any streams.

73 percent watched streams to learn tips and tricks about the video game in question themselves. 54 percent for pure entertainment and almost a third (31 percent) because they described themselves as a fan of an eSports team. After all, advertising in the eSports environment reaches its target audience: 80 percent of those surveyed said that they had noticed advertising measures in eSports. 62 percent confirmed that they were actually interested in the advertising measures.

The Learnings

Relevance and engagement in gaming, eSports and exergaming continues to rise as shown in a study by Global Web Index in April 2020.

Media Consumption in Covid-19 Lockdown / Source: Global Web Index April 2020

The ISPO network and Messe München can now use this knowledge and the lessons learned to develop further products and business approaches.

Brands and stakeholders interested in sports can use the white paper and thus Messe München and its partners become real enablers in knowledge transfer and dialogue.

The goals of the activation and campaign have been completely achieved on all sides.

For us as a consulting agency, this long-term and also complex project has shown the following: The ingredients of relevant content, authentic reach, innovation-driven partners and genuine dialogue lead to success.

What lessons do we as an eSports and gaming agency learn from the Future of Sports Whitepaper?

  • Interest in combining sports and gamification elements is particularly high
  • eSports Movement is the right activation to connect eSports, EXERGAMING and sports with education. Here is also a need in the gamer and eSports target group
  • We are setting up a working group on EXERGAMING with the German Industry Association for Fitness and Health. Goal: To further learning and to help dialogue
  • Conception and implementation of further innovative products