[toc]The demand for televised esports content is about as new a new thing as could be, but UK broadcasters ITV and Sky TV are determined to get ahead of the game.
Sky and ITV are doubling down on their initial investment in Ginx TV, which went live in June this year. Each has invested £1.55 million ($2 million) in cash and payment in kind via the provision of broadcasting services for a 16.5 percent stake in Ginx TV.
Ginx says that it is already to distributed to 14 million homes in the UK and Ireland and its foreign distribution takes the channel into another 23 million homes, letting Ginx claim to be the “largest eSports TV channel in the world, reaching 37 million homes.”
Emma Lloyd, group director of business development and strategic partnerships at Sky, commented:
“We’re really excited to have followed up our commercial partnership with Ginx with this investment, which will help us deepen our understanding of eSports and its audience. At Sky we are committed to bringing new programmes and channels such as GINX eSports TV to support and extend our leadership position in content.”
ITV and Sky have options to increase their stake further
The regulatory news announcement put out by ITV stated that:
“Both ITV and Sky have the option to acquire further holdings in Ginx TV. If either party does not take up its option, the remaining party may have the option to acquire 100%.”
Ginx is a 24/7 broadcaster offering a schedule that covers major esports tournaments such as FACEIT’s eSports Championship Series, and Valve’s The International Dota 2. It also offers independent programming, and rebroadcasts the Turner Broadcasting ELEAGUE.
Esports fans get to watch at times that are convenient to them, and the brand reputation of ITV and Sky help to create mainstream respectability for the content.
That 24/7 coverage also makes Ginx a critical resource and promoter for online esports betting.
TV coverage and esports betting can be expected to feed off each other as each expands. The consequent growth of Ginx may make the Sky and ITV options potentially very valuable.
[geoip2 region=’ROW’][show-table name=betway][/geoip2]
Esports betting growth will fuel audience growth and vice versa
The “Esports & Gambling: Where’s The Action?” report from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimates that esports betting will be a $20 billion a year industry by 2020. If that growth is achieved, the TV audience for esports is likely to be extremely valuable too.
The report on esports market demographics by Mindshare North America shows that esports fans are older, richer, and more committed to their hobby than many observers believed.
As a marketing demographic, esports fans are an attractive target not just for esports betting advertising, but for mainstream advertisers offering unrelated products.
Sky and ITV’s investment looks to be a timely vote of confidence in a TV channel that could see explosive growth over the next five years.