Esports & gaming in the Nordics – from Niche to Mainstream

13 March 2019

Esports and gaming is quickly moving towards mainstream, spurred by traditional sports actors increasing their activities in the field. Recently we have seen several ventures between traditional sports and esports.

The Nordic region has developed into an interesting market for esports, housing successful players, teams and companies. Approximately 1.2 million online viewers, across the region, is watching esports & gaming on a daily basis (as mentioned in our previous newsletter). Zooming in on the Nordic online audience specifically, this corresponds to a viewing share of 11 percent – to be compared to that of traditional sports (10 percent of online viewers).

In the hard-to-reach young audience (15-24 y/o), esports & gaming attain a significantly higher reach. Traditional sports actors have surely taken notice and a new trend is emerging, with companies searching to bridge this gap. This can be illustrated by the FIFA eWorld Cup, which has formed partnerships with several top football leagues. In the Nordics, both Danish top football league Superligaen and the Swedish equivalent Allsvenskan have launched esports leagues in collaboration with FIFA. The fact that Dplay is the main distribution channel for both leagues’ esports versions’, rather than the platforms Twitch and Youtube, points at the ambition to reach a broader audience. In Europe, the Polish pro league Ekstraklasa and The English Football Association have recently formed esports partnerships with FIFA as well. Another example is Activision Blizzard’s inhouse Overwatch League which is structured much like a traditional sports league, where each team represents a city or region.
A major player on the esports & gaming market is Nordic actor MTG, also on a global scale. It owns brands such as ESL and Dreamhack. The company spoke on their capital markets day yesterday (12 March) on the topic of synergies between esports and traditional sports – partly since Dreamhack is producing the above mentioned eSuperligaen and eAllsvenskan. The value proposition to advertisers for reaching the young demographic is deemed increasingly lucrative as the overall esports & gaming audience grows. Mediavision follows the development of the Nordic esports & gaming market closely, stay tuned for more!
Mediavision blogs:

Competition on the Nordic streaming market is ramping up with several new services about to launch. Content investments are escalating and only partly offset by price increases. In the US, Netflix recently announced +13-18% on subscription fees.

Mediavision press releases:
Swedish households continuously spend more money on media services. During 2018 an average Swedish household spent 450 SEK per month on media subscriptions. The appetite for video services remain high, video spend has increased by […].
Industry news

Activision Blizzard just landed Coca Cola as a new sponsor for Overwatch League which just kicked off its second season. The early indicators are pointing toward a 30% year-over-year in growth in viewership.

Apple Inc has invited media to a March 25 event where it is expected to reveal a television and video service. Sources previously told Reuters that the company is targeting April for the launch of a streaming service.

Netflix is bolstering its lineup of anime with projects including an adaptation of the video game Dragon’s Dogma and a series from the creators of Kick Ass. Netflix also unveiled a slate of five anime series last year.

Hemnet has decided to prohibit gambling ads on its site following the re-regulation of the Swedish gambling market in January. Hemnet has a weekly reach of approximately 2.8 million visitors across its premium and free services.

Spotify and Hulu are lowering the price of their combo bundle, Hulu’s ad-supported plan is being made available for free to current Spotify Premium subscribers. New subscribers can sign up for $9.99 a month, down from $12.99.

Leading up to, and during, NENT Group’s inaugural capital markets day the company released news on several operator partnerships, new original productions, and the global expanse of eg Veni Vidi Vici.

Danish operator Yousee recently announced a partnership with NENT Group on distributing Premiere League in Denmark. The operator now states that more deals of the sort are sure to follow.

The e-sports company ESL is enetering a global partnership with american telco operator AT&T for a mobile esports league called ESL Mobile Open. First season is set to start March 18th.

According to Mediebyråforeningen, the Norwegian trad TV advertising market dropped 16 percent at the start of 2019 vs same period 2018. Development partly driven by winter olympics in february of 2018.

Mediavision in the news

Marknaden för e-sport har ökat kraftigt de senaste åren och ett antal nya undersökningar påvisar samma sak.[…] Mediavision påvisar att 1,2 miljoner tittare ser på e-sport och gaming dagligen enbart i Norden.

Omregleringen av spelmarknaden har satt igång en intensiv kapplöpning om marknadsandelar. Särskilt konkurrensutsatt är onlice-casino. Det visar nya siffror från Mediavision.