AdColony, the in-app marketplace for brands, with a focus on gaming, unveiled sponsorship rights to Moonton’s best known multiplayer online battle arena game, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, via their recently announced partnership with Mana, the Singapore-based gaming and esports brand consultancy firm. This agreement will enable AdColony to offer brands in Southeast Asia a streamlined approach to sponsorship and advertising in esports alongside their investment in gaming.
Through this partnership, AdColony will have the full rights to sell sponsorships on behalf of the region’s colossally famous mobile game, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League (MPL). This means that brands who wish to amplify its presence with MPL esports can turn to AdColony as a one-stop shop – thanks to its comprehensive expertise and offering in in-app advertising. AdColony’s integrated advertising technology platform allows targeting and retargeting of consumers between esports and gaming properties, meaning brands can reach audiences at multiple different points of the marketing funnel, across different ad types and formats, even bringing ecommerce into play.
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In recent years, the esports market has boomed with a growing number of viewers tuning in to watch their favourite games being played by some of the best gamers in the world. By 2023, it is expected that the number of frequent viewers of esports worldwide will hit almost 300 million, a vast increase from the 173 million in 2018. A report by McKinsey addresses the monetary growth in the esports industry as it has gone from $950 million in industry revenue in 2019 to an expected $1.1 billion after 2020.
While the global pandemic in 2020 may have prevented in-person esports events, the phenomenon has taken flight in the online space. According to Moonton, viewership levels in 2020 have set a record level in Indonesia, peaking at over 2.8 million concurrent viewers with over 67 million hours watched in total. The Philippines MPL also reportedly had a peaked viewership of over 757,000 concurrent viewers and over 21M total hours watched.
Tom Simpson, SVP at AdColony APAC said, “Mobile Legends is one of the key games to unlock the esports market in Southeast Asia. This partnership with Moonton enables us to help brands interact more easily with the growing passionate and engaged mobile esports audience alongside their ongoing investments in broader gaming-focused advertising and communications. We remain hyper-focused on connecting brands with consumers across gaming and esports, and this partnership is an important pillar for 2021.”
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Unlike traditional sports, where (team) fandom is often generational, fan following for esports is faster moving and more fluid – reflecting the speed at which the games themselves grow in terms of playerbase. In the case of the Moonton’s MPL, we’ve seen both unique viewership, and total time spent viewing double year on year. Brands waiting on the sidelines of esports are losing out on opportunities which are priced for today and delivering double the value tomorrow.
The most active brands in esports right now are Mobile tech and handset manufacturers, male grooming, soft drinks, and snacks. Over the past year it has become more common to see price wars in markets such as Vietnam and Indonesia for premium esports rights, as brands are willing to pay a premium to lock out their competitors for extended periods. What’s caught many brands off guard is how far ahead these opportunities are getting locked down. Most deals were done in Q4 of 2020, for 2021, which sits outside of many brands’ annual planning cycles. According to Tom Simpson, “AdColony aims to simplify this process of esports rights and sponsorships price discovery and sponsorship for brands”.
“This partnership with Moonton comes hot on the heels of the news that AdColony and Mana, the Singapore-based gaming and esports brand consultancy firm that connects brands with the gaming and esports industries, has teamed up to help brands simplify the way they can get involved in the global gaming and esports ecosystem”, commented Jamie Lewin from Mana.
In November 2020, AdColony also signed an exclusive partnership with global in-game advertising platform, Anzu, to offer Anzu’s market-leading blended in-game advertising solutions across both display and video to brands and agencies in Asia Pacific.