Everything you wanted to know about esports

The world of esports is booming. Increasingly lucrative salaries for those playing, increasingly large spectator numbers and an increasing amount of brands wanting to get involved.

But, this scene is also so new that it can be quite difficult to know where and how to begin. Luckily, we’ve been able to rope in a couple of experts to help.

Our guests are Mike Craddock and Chris Parnell, co-founders of Kairos Media – an influencer marketing and esports specialist agency. We met up to talk all things esports – what they are, how brands can get involved and what the future might look like. If you’re curious about this space then you definitely need to stick around and listen to Mike and Chris have to tell you.

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Show notes

Mike Craddock and Chris Parnell are co-founders of Kairos Media, an influencer marketing and esports specialist agency that was formed three years ago. Find out more about the agency on their website. Connect with Mike and Chris on LinkedIn.

Esports are electronic sports – people who play video games professionally – and has grown tremendously over the last few years, in terms of players and prize pools. You can even go to Universities and get a scholarship as an e-sports player.

These players are the best of the best at their individual games

Not all games can be an esport; League of Legends and Call of Duty are massive, whereas Fortnite currently isn’t an esport. A game has to have certain things to become an esport – it needs a spectator mode, for example.

Esports are attracting serious audience numbers and becoming a real spectator sport – they’re filling arenas. You also then have the livestreaming audiences, via Twitch and Facebook Live.

It’s the community behind it and their passion for the game that is driving it.

Esports players aren’t quite earning the same amount as top athletes in traditional sports, but plenty are earning good salaries. In principle, there shouldn’t be a gender pay gap in esports as there is no reason why anyone can’t be a top esports person. However, gaming has traditionally been male-dominated and that is reflected in the world of esports.

Esports are accessible – yes, you have to train and be at the top of your game, but the route to entry to these sports is significantly less than most traditional sports. That drives a level of aspiration for fans.

Esports are already beating spectator numbers for some events – for example, they already draw more viewers than a League 1 or Championship football match might do. However, they’re still a way off competing with things like the Super Bowl and the World Cup. And the numbers are only going up.

Right now there are three main pillars with how brands are getting involved with esports; sponsoring individual players, sponsoring teams or sponsoring tournaments themselves.

Esports are unique in that the game IP is owned by the publisher of the game, who are then able to drive the growth of them.

There’s a lot of logo slapping right now in esports – but there is so much more to it. It needs a careful approach to it for brands wanting to get involved. Esports is very different from any other sector, because if you get it wrong they will jump on you.

What you get in return from sponsoring esports is significant – especially when you put the effort into creating a custom strategy around how you approach it.

Traditional sports are slowly getting more involved in esports too. For example, AS Roma and Manchester City both have their own FIFA teams. Some have partnered with an established esports organisation, while others have their own players.

A lot of these teams don’t necessarily have a plan right now, they just know they need to be involved.

Esports are still really early in their development – there are lots of eyes on the space right now, but it’s very difficult to say what the scene might look like in even a couple of years. But there is plenty of potential for growth, and there is serious talk around esports becoming part of the Olympic Games – the challenge there is about finding the right game, one that is family-friendly and that is easy for a novice to watch and understand.

Mike’s top three tips for brands wanting to tap into the world of esports

Vet the space – know what you want to achieve

Look at the future of the games – which ones are the audiences really watching?

Work with someone like Kairos, who specialise in the space, to get the most from it

5,4,3,2,1 (with Chris)

5 apps on your phone you use the most

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram

4 people you’d like to invite round for dinner

Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Gary Vaynerchuk and Steve Bartlett

3 words to describe what it’s like working for Kairos Media

Creative, exciting and hard!

2 places/events in the world you’d really love to visit but haven’t been able to yet

The Bahamas and Rome

1 social media platform you love more than any of the others


Find out more

Mike Craddock and Chris Parnell are co-founders of Kairos Media, an influencer marketing and esports specialist agency that was formed three years ago. Find out more about the agency on their website. Connect with Mike and Chris on LinkedIn.

Thanks to #ASDIE18

The Native Podcast is brought to you by ASDIE, the Annual Summit for Digital Innovation in Education, which takes place in London on Thursday 19 July. Book your ticket now, and use the code POD10 to get a 10% discount!


The Native Podcast is hosted and produced by Dave Musson, our editor-in-chief.

Our music is by Broke For Free and is used under Creative Commons.

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