Esports: Fan Interaction A Must for Competitors

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As we follow the fictional (but fact-based) exploits of our esports team, let’s take a look at the aspect of social media, PR, and fan interaction commitment as it relates to esports? Just what does an esports competitor’s 15-minutes entail? (If you miss any installments in this series, you can read them all at here.)

Tomas Cordona heard a huge sign to his left, where Mateo Cardona had been practicing some particularly challenging phases of League of Legends in preparation for today’s tourney. Tomas knew Mateo wasn’t frustrated over the game itself. Glancing at the time on his Apple Watch, Tomas knew immediately the reason for the sigh.

“It’s that time,” Mateo announced, dropping his controller in front of the monitor and pushing his seat away from the console.

Team Otherworld was scheduled to make a public appearance before today’s League of Legends tournament. This was when team members were expected to fulfill their social media and PR commitments, as well as interact with fans.

Their team manager, Hyun Park, worked hard to raise the profile of his players. He helped each of them set up Facebook, Twitter, and other team-related social media accounts and blogs, their daily lifelines to fans, other competitors, and industry media.

Tomas liked this part of the esports lifestyle. As an esports competitor, he wasn’t famous per se—at least not Johnny Depp famous—but he still got a brief taste of 15-minutes in the spotlight before or after each tournament.

He knew that Mateo was not a big enthusiast of fan interaction and making time for the media, nor was Kevin Carpenter, the team’s youngest player and their most recent recruit. Zach Reynolds, who was retiring as a professional esports competitor after this tourney, was sort of on the fence about the whole thing—and even more so in recent weeks after he’d announced his decision to hang up his video game controllers and industry pundits had swarmed to get that last, great interview with him.

Admittedly, this aspect of esports could be a bit much, especially when, at their core, as professional gamers all they really wanted to do was play video games—something they loved to do—and make some money doing it. Tomas always figured it was just a necessary part of the game (no pun intended) and certainly an important facet of any serious e-competitor’s public persona.

Many gamers participated in esports part-time simply to pay some bills and have a good time doing it. Others, like Tomas, made a full-time living from it. Raising his public profile and becoming a fan favorite was a big part of his strategy to become a recognizable esports gamer—someone who would not only be in line for top prize winnings but who could turn his own special version of fame into opportunities for endorsing products near and dear to the hearts and minds of gamers and gaming enthusiasts.

Looking at Zach’s full-featured CORE Gaming Backpack from Mobile Edge—a prototype that wasn’t even in production yet and available only to a few during a Kickstarter campaign to launch the product—Tomas understood that even though Zach might not “thrill” at the prospect of fan interaction and media banter, he at least “got” the need to be accessible.

Sure, being accessible might open you up to abuse by web trolls, but in Tomas’s opinion, the opportunities for taking gaming and gamers to a new level far outweighed any negatives.

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