Esports thrived in the digital-first environment that emerged as the pandemic halted live sports. Even as leagues have returned to action, the boost has allowed esports teams to aggressively grow their audiences across social media.
Esports organizations have been using social media in the pandemic era to not only drive engagement, but also generate ad revenue from live streams and online league matches. Even before the pandemic, esports’ digital ad revenue grew 23%, or $175 million, in 2019, showing the demand for esports, as well as the large-scale acceptance of the sport, according to eMarketer. It is likely to grow by 12% this year.
FaZe Clan, a multi-million dollar American esports organization and media company, had the biggest audience across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as of August, with almost 15 million followers, according to Shareablee. The team has been partnering with many pro athletes like Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons as a content creator under the name “FaZe Simmo,” Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster or “FaZe Juju,” and Miami Heat player Meyers Leonard or “FaZe Hammer.”
Along with that, LeBron James’ son, 15-year-old LeBron “Bronny” James Jr., has also joined the organization as a content creator. Rappers Ugly God and Lil Yachty are also affiliated with FaZe Clan, while Migos member Offset is an investor. The organization has over 40 streamers on its roster, as well as competitive teams in Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty League, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, FIFA and Fortnite.
In addition to FaZe Clan, NRG Esports — which has almost 2 million followers across social media — recently partnered with digital media company Shots Studios. In the deal, Shots Studios will assist NRG in content production and merchandising.
Astralis, a Danish esports organization, whose audience size is only 900,000 across all platforms, recently announced it was merging all of its teams into a singular brand to have a bigger social media presence and compete with FaZe Clan.
The move will see Origen LEC team and the Future FC FIFA roster move under the Astralis banner alongside its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team.
“Through the merger of all activities and our team brands, we position ourselves as a leading organization in international esports,” said Anders Hørsholt, chief executive officer of Astralis Group. “Digitally, physically and team wise, all our future activities will be done in the Astralis name and based upon the same values that characterize the organization.”