In the past we’ve talked about eMLS and its intrinsic value in helping grow MLS. The platform video games, like FIFA, provide the burgeoning North American league in access to a new, young, and globally connected audience is important – at least in concept. However, there hasn’t been much empirical evidence to illustrate the added value for players, audiences, and more importantly brands… until now.
Following the eMLS League Series One event held in January in Philadelphia, social analytics company, Zoomph, provided an in-depth look at the event based on fan affinity and social valuations for MLS teams, participating players, and event sponsors. We’ve highlighted a few of the interesting insights from Zoomph, but encourage you to check out the full report here.
Expansion teams have a higher affinity for esports
Zoomph looked at each of the participating MLS teams and their fandom through social conversation and found that Austin FC fans were almost three-times as likely to have an affinity for esports than the average MLS fan. It’s interesting to note that each of the top four teams whose fans have an above average affinity for esports are all recent MLS expansion teams.
Performance and clout drive social value
This should come as no surprise, but two things proved true: the longer an esports athlete stays in the competition and the higher profile the athlete the more social value they drive. For FC Cincinnati, they may not have had much success on the actual field last year, but FIDDLE provided fans some relief by taking home the tournament trophy – and driving nearly $84,000 in social media exposure value along the way. For the Union, much was said about the team bringing on Jay Ajayi, former Philadelphia Eagles running back and Super Bowl winner. Despite his subpar performance behind the controls, he still provided over $75,000 in social value for the team thanks to his profile as an NFL athlete.
Brands see value in eMLS
One of the big questions whose answer is still largely being written is what sort of ROI brands can expect to see through eMLS. Thanks to Zoomph we now have some insights into the monetary value an eMLS event can provide. PlayStation, the official platform provider, saw nearly $250,000 in value. The league helped produce sponsor content in varying forms during the eventing, including posts from the eMLS athletes like the example below from Atlanta United’s athlete.
BIG THANKS to @ScufGaming for this amazing controller! I’m sure that they are in good hands 👀
— Paulo neto (@Pauloneto999) January 8, 2020