#MarketingEventsAwards spills: ONE Esports CEO Carlos Alimurung shares 3 trends on his radar

Taking home the gold for Best Venue Experience and Best Consumer Event: esports was none other than ONE Esports. The team wowed judges with its ONE Esports Dota 2 Singapore World Pro Invitational that took place between 17 to 22 December 2019. Lauded as one of the biggest esports events ever held in Southeast Asia, the event showcased the best and highest sportsmanship between 12 teams consisting of 60 world-class professional Dota 2 esports athletes from 23 countries.

Speaking to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE for the plans for 2021 is Carlos Alimurung, CEO of ONE Esports.

This interview is done as part of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s winners and finalists’ interview series for Marketing Events Awards 2020. To find out more about the awards, click here

What are some of the expectations your consumers now have for your brand?

Alimurung: Our mission is to share and celebrate the stories of esports heroes who ignite the world with strength, hope, dreams, and inspiration. Our commitment to that mission is unrelenting. For our fans and community, that means they should expect world-class events, content, and experiences that elevate the world’s best esports athletes to the same level as their counterparts in traditional sports. For our brand and distribution partners, that means we will continue to deliver the most complete and effective esports media platform to connect and engage with this lucrative community.

How has your marketing/your clients marketing plans shifted this year?

Alimurung: 2020 has been a challenging year for many companies. Brands were left with a tough choice: sit on the sidelines while the world quarantined or engage in innovative new ways to connect and engage. Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, is credited with saying, “Bad companies are destroyed by crises; good companies survive them; great companies are improved by them.”

The smart companies used 2020 as a time to either pilot or double down on their existing play in esports. That approach made a lot of sense because esports was born online. Consequently, when traditional sports stopped, esports kept going. This made us a natural fit for brands looking to enter esports and focus on Millennials and GenZ consumers.

For example, in the back half of 2020, we executed several online esports competitions, including the ONE Esports Dota 2 SEA League, ONE Esports Mobile Legends Pro League Invitational presented by Wonderful Indonesia, and Toyota GR Supra GT Cup Asia Regional Final. These tournaments, in total, reached over 80M viewers.

What are some of the trends you see carrying on post-pandemic, and how are you readying your workforce to be ready with these trends?

Alimurung: 2020 was an accelerant for esports. The trends that we saw pre-pandemic will only intensify in the next 24 months. There are three big trends that we expect:

  • First, the rise of mobile esports will continue, especially in China, SEA, India, the Middle East, and LATAM. Our partnerships with leading game developers and talent in mobile esports position us well to ride this secular wave.
  • Second, we anticipate a brighter spotlight on female esports athletes in the future. As you go younger into gaming, especially within mobile, the demographics become more gender balanced. ONE Esports has championed the rise of female esports athletes, and you can expect our content across the ONE Esports ecosystem to increasingly feature them.
  • Lastly, brands that sat out on gaming and esports in 2020 have realised that these global phenomena cannot be ignored. Consequently, we except more brands to enter esports over the next two years. We look forward to working with all of them!

What do you think makes for great marketing these days?

Alimurung: Great marketing today or tomorrow is no different than what defined great marketing yesterday. It always takes two ingredients magically combined for success:

First, marketing needs to be sincere and relevant to the target audience. That means the content, experience, and delivery needs to resonate holistically and consistently.

Second, great marketing needs to be informed by data. The financial model will never spit out the optimal answer, but it will provide good guardrails to bound the decision set.

At ONE Esports, we’re constantly thinking about these two ingredients. Thus far, our efforts have been rewarded. ONE Esports has built the most engaged and passionate audience within esports. Our community spends more money on gaming, consumes more content, and games more intensely than average esports fans. For example, our analysis indicates that a ONE Esports fan spends US$33 per month on gaming, which is significantly higher than the US$18 per month that an average esports fan spends. Furthermore, the average ONE Esports fan consumes 7.1 hours of gaming and esports video or streaming content per month versus the 3.8 hours of content consumed per month by the average esports fan.

How are you planning for 2021?

Alimurung: Our strategy will continue to deliver on our mission to share and celebrate the stories of esports heroes who ignite the world with hope, strength, dreams, and inspiration. As we move forward, you should expect our coverage on Oneesports.gg to include more long-form storytelling of esports athletes as we dive deeper into what drives them to be the best, and our events, whether with in-person audiences or streamed, to be even more innovative, engaging, and interactive.