Thanks to the growing number of people who consider themselves gamers and the expansion of digital media, the total worldwide market for eSports will reach $910 million in 2016, according to research firm SuperData. To help brands capitalize on advertising opportunities in the space, one of the leading gamer lifestyle digital networks is launching a "gaming" agency.
"This is the first real digital native sport," said Chad Gutstein, CEO of multi-channel network Machinima. "This is a sport whose foundation is something going from (binary numbers) 0 to 1. It's not a ball. It's not a hoop. Its foundation is code."
Machinima, whose investors include Warner Bros. and Google, announced on Friday that its Mach-1 agency will use internal analytics to help brand navigate the gaming world. The deals will not be tied to just Machinima's properties, but will spread across all eSports events. In addition to insights, Mach-1 will also help with strategic planning and ad campaign execution. Though it isn't disclosing its client roster, Gustein said a little under 10 companies are currently using Mach-1's services.
The company partnered with CW in February to bring eSports to prime-time TV. What's more, other television networks have also increased their eSports coverage, including Turner through a partnership with WME/IMG, as well as ESPN.