First, thank you kindly for all the fantastic feedback and support on the prologue to this series and what’s to come. It’s really very inspiring to see the thirst for information in this space, and I certainly hope to deliver.

I’ve been toying with an industry value chart lately which outlines the flow of value from one entity within the industry to another – namely between players, teams, companies, events, and the consumers. Colleague and friend Chris Mitchell and I previously discussed this chart a few years back, but since then it has morphed and changed with the industry significantly. Either way, when you boil it down, there’s a lot to learn. I’ll save the actual diagram itself for another time (and for when it’s more than just a scrawl on a notepad), but for now I want to focus briefly on players in that chain and what they mean to our industry.

A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulders of players, yet sometimes I don’t think they or their teams are aware of this as much as they should be. As a sponsor I’m always dissecting teams and the decisions they make. I’ve always found it frustrating that we all want a brighter future for our industry, and yet the path to enlightenment is often marred with drama, unprofessional behavior, and immaturity. Team managers reading this will be bored to death of this notion, and it’s absolutely a symptom of the speed at which our industry is growing. That said, there are managers out there too who exploit these star players for their own good.

As is blatantly obvious, players are hugely valuable first and foremost because they are the stars. They provide entertainment for the consumer, and through this the rest more or less falls into place. This is a simplistic view of the interrelationship between major entities in eSports, but you get my point.

Players further provide teams and events with credibility. To a large extent these entities thrive on the popularity of players and the entertainment they provide in the industry.

Last, and most importantly, Teams and events utilize this credibility and entertainment to generate value for companies whilst players supplement this themselves with endorsements and ambassadorships. (Sidenote: this is not to say other entities do not provide huge value – of course they do. We will come to them in other articles though).

Increasingly, players must understand that in order for this to scale further, there must be a level of professionalism expected from them regardless of how things are going inside the game. If the industry is to attract new non-endemic sponsors and grow the market, we should be encouraging, teaching and properly training players in our sector to act appropriately and set examples for those who will eventually form the next generation of player.

How do we do this?

  1. Through professional, regulated team management
  2. Through meaningful, educational sponsorships where players are actively taught the value of what they do
  3. Through the proper dissemination of eSports and its values to grassroots initiatives – schools, universities, clubs, and the general gaming audience

 

Players are the core of our industry, and they are incredibly talented individuals which are, more often than not, put under a huge amount of stress by their fans, teams and sponsors. A balance should be struck by management and sponsors though to ensure that they are properly prepared for their careers – both in play and after it.

Next time we’ll speak more about the value chain in eSports and the other major entities affecting it.

Have ideas or topics you’d like to discuss in future articles? Please leave them in the comments!

The original article was published on Aug 16, 2015 by Drew Holt-Kentwell and can be found here.