World of Tanks

If I spend $32 on something and don’t know if I got my proper value, I get miffed. So imagine Wargaming, which has spent $32 million on promoting its esports ventures — mostly on World of Tanks — but, early on, “had no idea what esports is.”

That shockingly frank admission came from an interview with Wargaming esports chief Mohamed Fadl on VentureBeat, who explains that the first $10 million the company spent on promoting esports back in 2012 was just to figure out if the company was going down the right path. Wargaming then partnered with ESL to improve its events and, despite some disconnect between casual and competitive play, has seen an increase in its viewership.

That still doesn’t mean Wargaming has a handle on exactly how esports is helping its games’ profit margins. Esports viewing is free, so the money doesn’t come in that way. Instead, Fadl thinks that

“We don’t monetize there [selling tickets]. We monetize through the player journey. We give content that is created and digested by everyone.”

The article says that Riot doesn’t make a ton of money directly from esports either, and I’ve heard of other companies viewing esports as more of a marketing tool than a direct money maker. I suppose that makes sense, seeing as how, unlike traditional sports, so much of esports is free to view, and there’s very little money to be had in licensing — sports teams can sell jerseys of popular players, but you don’t see that with esports stars. Lots of folks are key to the idea of esports becoming as big as, or bigger than, traditional sports, but if so, they’ll have to go a different route to turn a profit.

the author

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

8 Readers Commented

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  1. Igwarr on March 1, 2016

    Atleast there not spending 50+ mill on a single player for a single season hell the amount clubs like man united could find a few world wars

    • Igwarr on March 1, 2016

      Could fund a few world wars

  2. Merkadis on February 29, 2016

    And that’s how millions go down the drain, and overhyped shit games appear all over the place.
    I wonder how many cool indie rpg’s could have been made with that much wasted money.

  3. Todoran on February 28, 2016

    could have made a better game whit that cash…. fail

  4. TreadHead on February 28, 2016

    Fans do buy jerseys of their favorite teams.

    Not sure about China and Korea but Fnatic, Cloud 9 and Teams Solo Mid probably sell the most out of western esports franchises.

  5. Keyrs on February 27, 2016

    “[…]sports teams can sell jerseys of popular players, but you don’t see that with esports stars.” Someone didn’t make his homework.

  6. LinkoN on February 27, 2016

    They could’ve given half a million to me, would’ve made more sense :3