An esports professional will star in a global Nike commercial by 2021, a new report has claimed.
It’s common to see the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James and Roger Federer appearing in advertisements and endorsing brands. However, esports stars are still lagging behind the stars of more traditional sports.
However, that is set to change within the next three years, video game market analysts Newzoo claims.
The company has predicted that big things are to come for the esports scene between now and 2021. It has predicted that esports viewership will overtake tennis in the United States, with total audience growing from 395m in 2018 to 580m in 2021.
Likewise, it also predicts that sportswear leaders Nike will sign a major esports star to its roster of top athletes.
According to Newzoo, esports is already on par with golf. Nike has agreed lucrative endorsement contracts with the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in the past, so there is little reason why professional gamers won’t be given the same treatment by the brand.
Newzoo’s Consumer Insights data shows that those aged between 10-31 years old are more likely to watch esports than more traditional sports such as American football or basketball. Nike will be keen to capture this audience as it ages.
It’s impossible to say who the company would sign up. However, somebody like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins would be an ideal fit. He already boasts a huge following and is the best player in competitive Fortnite, a game that just about everyone has at least some knowledge of.
The rise of esports
Esports has experienced dramatic growth in recent years.
Back in 2015, Newzoo predicted that esports fans would total 145m by 2017. Likewise, it also predicted more than 1.2bn people would be aware of esports and occasional viewers would reach 190m.
All three of those predictions are now a reality. Esports boasts 143m enthusiasts and 192m occasional viewers. Likewise, Newzoo’s data shows that 1.4bn people are aware of esports. The company expects that to rise above 2bn by 2021, with more than a quarter of the population predicted to know about competitive gaming in three years time.