SINGAPORE - On the eve of the biggest competition for its players to date, local eSports organisation Team Flash is positioning itself to become a major player in the largely untapped Southeast Asian market as well.
On Thursday (May 31), it appointed international marketing agency Lagardere Sports as its commercial sales representative, with Lagardere helping to develop and sell sponsorship packages to brands.
"There are a lot of established properties in the United States and Europe, but it's still early days in Southeast Asia for the eSports industry. There's no market leader yet," said Team Flash founder and chief executive officer Terence Ting.
"We see a lot of overlaps between eSports and traditional sports, so I think it's a good time to enter a partnership with Lagardere, who have an impressive track record in traditional sports marketing."
Team Flash's Fifa Online 3 players Joseph Yeo and Amraan Gani became the first Singaporeans to qualify for the Fifa eWorld Cup in April.
The pair begin their World Cup campaign in Amsterdam on Friday, where they will be among 64 top players vying for 16 spots in August's Grand Finals.
Team Flash currently employs 12 full-time professional gamers across Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam for games like Arena of Valor and Dota 2.
Other professional eSports teams based here include Team Impunity and Chaos Theory.
According to market intelligence firm Newzoo, the eSports industry is expected to hit US$905 million (S$1.2 billion) in global revenues this year.
Brand investments through sponsorships, advertising and media rights make up 77 per cent of that total.
The US, Western Europe and China are the biggest eSports markets, accounting for nearly 75 per cent of global revenues.
Team Flash is Lagardere's first eSports partner in Asia, although the company has been working with European teams for more than a year.
"If you look at the growth of audiences, live events and prize money, and how teams are professionalising themselves, eSports is slowly coming to mirror traditional sports," said Deirdre Sim, Lagardere Sports's Asia director of business development.
"A lot of the commercial streams like ticketing and media rights are the same. So in Southeast Asia, it makes sense to work with up-and-coming teams like Team Flash."