Dataxis held last Thursday, August 20th, a new virtual panel, entitled ‘How to integrate E-Sports, kings of social distancing, into pay TV business’. The panel featured different executives from the industry, such as Leo De Biase, Chief Relationship Officer at Bad Boy Leeroy; Jonathan Cisterna, General Manager at Temporada de Juegos; Damian Szafirsztein, Team Owner at Infinity Esports Latam; Mario Souza, Head of Sales & Marketing at Mediapro; and Jorge Sobenes, Regional Sales Manager for Latin America at Ross Video. The panel was moderated by Pablo Monti, CCO – Gaming & Esports of TyC Sports, and sponsored by Ross Video.
In relation to the value chain in the esports business, Szafirsztein said that ‘we compete in the leagues, which have a solid ecosystem around the game’. He also argued that ‘for this business, to work and to talk about broadcasting rights, we have to consider the clubs, publishers and actors who organize leagues and tournaments’. The executive remarked that Infinity’s vision is to compete in each of those leagues, where the ecosystem is developed, with a credible publisher, with a solid league and an audience that deserves to participate’. De Biase also gave his point of view regarding the value chain according to BBL, and indicated that ‘the discussion does not take place around who should participate in the industry, but how’.
‘At Mediapro we understand esports as one of the great pillars of entertainment, and we invest more and more on this development, which is not very different from other areas of content production, but is broader in terms of the number of players. Games have an owner and around each game several value chains are developed. We are still trying to understand how esports move in the industry’, reported Souza. Likewise, Cisterna remarked that, since they have ran the agreement of Temporada de Juegos with AMC Networks International Latin America, ‘we are being able to distribute all our content in Latin America in a totally globalized way’, and explained that ‘thanks to the agreement, we have worked in more than 10 cable operators in our last Counter Strike competition, and we began to notice and manage the storyline of the schedules and times that are handled, closely associated with TV. There is a changing process in which, thanks to the experience that AMC gives us, we begin to work in a different way and to generate a much more globalized content, which is the way to go, without losing sight of the content for each region’.
Regarding how to improve storytelling in esports, Sobenes explained that ‘we have brought all the know-how we had in production technology that we had in traditional sports, and we had to see how to implement it in esports, doing things that were traditionally done to enrich traditional sport, to do the same with esports, such as the integration of graphics, data, elements of augmented reality in live events, and others’.
‘One of the problems that TV faces is linked to the time it takes to televise an esports competition’, de Biase said. In this regard, Souza added that esports ‘have taken a completely contrary path in comparison with other sports, because they were born digitally. The main question is to see when a certain content can be part of traditional TV. The problem of esports to control times also takes place in other sports besides esports. However, during the pandemic, esports have gained ground, but it is necessary for someone to have the courage to integrate this content on TV’. De Biase, in turn, added that currently, big streamers are talking to content creators, and they are buying the broadcasting rights. On the other hand, Cisterna reported that ‘pay TV includes more esports, but the key point is focused on TV knowing the potential that esports have’.
Regarding the role of esports teams in content creation, Szafirsztein said that ‘TV today loses much relevance because not much TV is consumed, but more content via streaming’. Likewise, the executive emphasized the disruption of mobile and the need to rethink what TV is today. ‘The great challenge for TV is to keep up with the costs and infrastructure that digital platforms have. It is not only about TV channels taking ownership of gaming and esports content, but also about understanding the audiences that today do not consume their platforms because they are on others’.
‘We try to consider esports as just another sport, but it has its own aspects that make the technical production challenges greater than in traditional sports such as football’, said Sobenes. ‘In esports, there are many sports and we have to adapt the technology for each game’, he added in relation to the reconfiguration of technology in esports. He also said that more interactivity could be added to TV to integrate electronic sports.
Souza, for his part, reported that the fact that esports are accessed in a single place is ‘unnatural’ for them. ‘The concept of ‘multichannel’ is native to esports, so it is difficult to imagine an exclusivity to access this content’, he explained.