It turns out that while esports may be growing in popularity, the fans of different video games don’t spend the same way as fans for traditional sports.
To try to figure out ways to part fans from their hard-earned money, teams are beginning to turn to the types of data monitoring tools used to map and predict customer spending online.
Enter FanAI, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based company that’s looking to use big data culled from esports teams and from social media and online content to optimize a franchise’s ability to pitch team and league paraphernalia to fans.
The company just raised $2.5 million in a new round of funding from investors led by Courtside Ventures, with participation from a slew of other big esports backers like Bitkraft Esports Ventures, BDS Capital, Catalyst Sports, Deep Space Ventures, Everblue Management, Greycroft GC Tracker Fund, M Ventures, Rosecliff Ventures and Sterling VC.
“As esports investments have grown by orders of magnitude, the sponsorship ecosystem remains an enormous and untapped opportunity. From teams and publishers to agencies and brands, the lucrative demographic of the gaming industry has sparked a lot of interest,” said Deepen Parikh, Partner at Courtside Ventures, in a statement.
According to data from market analyst Newzoo, esports fans were expected to spend roughly $3.64 in 2017; meanwhile, a traditional sports fan will spend roughly five times as much on a sport like basketball.
Given that the traditional sports world has flocked to esports behind the promise of massive returns, the franchises will be looking for that revenue to increase significantly to justify their spending for rights to play in various leagues.
That’s where FanAI comes in.
“Brands and sponsors are flooding the esports industry, but are still struggling to prove return on investment in order to justify marketing spend. Until now, this was next to impossible within the esports ecosystem,” said Johannes Waldstein, founder and CEO of FanAI, in a statement. “FanAI unlocks the value for our esports clients by providing unique purchase behavior and lifestyle data on their fanbase, opening the doors for sponsors and brands to invest with confidence.”
Teams are already using the company’s service. According to a company statement, FanAI already counts Cloud9, OpTic Gaming, Overwatch League’s LA Valiant and NYXL, and Cav’s Legion GC — the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA2K League — team as customers.
Featured Image: Mark J. Terrill/AP