Marketing Drive for First Canadian eSports ETF can’t Ignore Industry Influences

Computer tracking - Image by Guilhem Vellut
Computer tracking - Image by Guilhem Vellut

Canada’s first eSports and gaming-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) will now be promoted by Enthusiast Gaming. A digital media company based in Toronto, Enthusiast will help oversee the promotion and growth of Evolve’s HERO eSports index.

Going live on June 17, 2019, HERO became Canada’s first eSports ETF. For investors, the Toronto Stock Exchange-listed product is a chance to buy securities in a variety of video game companies. Prompted by the ongoing surge of interest in not only video games but competitive eSports, the ETF has been described as a unique opportunity for Canadian traders.

Enthusiast Tasked with Enthused Investors over iGaming

To support the evolution of HERO, Enthusiast Gaming will handle a year-long marketing campaign. As part of the PR drive, the media agency will be tasked with highlighting the international prominence of eSports. As per the stats, industry revenue is set to exceed $152 billion in 2019 and more than 500 million are expected to tune into eSports events this year.

However, while competitive gaming has become a major player in its own right, its roots actually stretch beyond video games. While its links to Call of Duty and Overwatch are well-established and undeniable, the industry also owes its recent success to casino gaming. Although less of a direct influence on eSports growth, the rise of real-money gaming has helped spark a love for competition among all types of gamers.

Indeed, when you survey what’s often called the iGaming sector, the top operators lean towards some sort of competition. For example, at online casino sites such as Royal Vegas and Jackpot City, Canadian slot machines are a communal affair. Among the 400+ titles on offer are progressive jackpot slots. Within each game, the prize pool is made up of contributions from each player, with the first one to hit the right combination scooping the ever-increasing jackpot. In tandem with jackpot slots, tournaments have also become common.

Essentially a race to see who can earn the most money/points in a given period of time, these tournaments are just one example of how iGaming promotes competition. The other obvious example is poker. A game where the skilled can thrive, poker has forged a number of crossovers with eSports over the last few decades. Most notably, high-profile competitors such as Daniel Negreanu (poker to gaming) and Bertrand Grospellier (gaming to poker) have crossed over to test their skills in a new arena.

eSports is the Product of a Gaming Revolution

Esports by a.canvas.of.light, on Flickr
Esports” (CC BY 2.0) by a.canvas.of.light

Finally, sports betting has also helped fuel the eSports flame. Today, online bookmakers will offer odds on the latest competitions – but connections run deeper than that. Around the world, sports betting has increased interest in all types of events, including what could be considered niche activities like competitive gaming. In essence, bookmakers have aligned eSports with “traditional” sports. That means you’re now just as likely to see coverage of Stanley Cup online as you are the League of Legends World Championship.

As a community, eSports has undoubtedly gone the extra mile to increase revenue. Through continued innovation, advertising and investment, the biggest events now attract millions of viewers each year. However, at least some of the recent growth can be attributed to casino gaming and, moreover, the evolution of gaming as a whole. For Enthusiast Gaming and those looking to invest in HERO, these links are important. Indeed, only by understanding what’s influencing the market can those investing in it make the right moves.