If you’re into gaming, tech, or even just have an eye for exciting and fast-growing business opportunities, you will have heard of the multi-million pound esports industry. If you’re looking to get set up in this sector, here’s what you need to start your own esports franchise.
The esports sector has grown extremely quickly from being a small industry with a dedicated following, to a fully fledged, mainstream, highly profitable industry. To put the scale of this growth into perspective, the number of investments in the esports industry in 2018 was $4.5 billion in 2018 — a growth of 837% from the year before [Deloitte].
Whether you’re a gamer or not, the scale and growth of the sports industry is huge with new businesses and gamers joining this sector all the time. Starting your own esports gaming franchise is a fantastic way to carve out a section of this market for yourself, so if you’re looking to start your business and be your own boss in this industry, here’s what you need to know.
What is an esports franchise?
The specific shape and market of your esports franchise will ultimately be up to you to decide, but generally, your franchise will be working on anything from producing and selling high-end PCs, high-tech equipment, gaming chairs, headsets and even entire platforms for gamers to compete on.
And, as this sector becomes more mainstream, you can expect to be working with big celebrities, organisations and news outlets.
Why start an esports franchise?
The growth of this industry is frighteningly fast. Even only four years ago, the word esports was a little known term, but today, you can find esports on major sports T.V. channels, all over major online platforms, and raking in millions of pounds on a yearly basis.
In 2021, the esports sector was valued at just over $1 billion — an incredible 50% increase on the year before. By 2024, this sector will be worth an astonishing $1.6 billion [Statista]. On this basis, the esports sector is doubling at a striking rate.
What’s more notable is the way in which this sector is growing. The vast majority of the revenue that the esports sector attracts comes through sponsorships and advertising. By drawing huge sums of outside investment, competitions and tournaments have very quickly been able to rack up huge prizes and brand deals, and you’ll feel the financial knock-on directly as an esports franchisee.
So, how can you be a part of the esports industry?
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How to start your own esports franchise
1. Be ambitious
The sky's the limit for the esports industry. Just because other businesses are focusing on fixed markets, you shouldn’t be afraid to set out a business plan that goes well above and beyond the traditional market. As a franchisee, you’ll have the full backing of your franchisor, but this relationship should also work both ways and you should never be afraid to give feedback.
Franchisees know their customers better than anyone, so if you’ve seen an opportunity within your market or changing demand from your customers, you should boldly present your new ideas to your franchisor. Propose new products, different audiences, alternative marketing strategies —while they may not all come to fruition, you should never let your ambition rest.
2. Capture your market
We’ve spoken about eSports so far, but how does it stack up against its unplugged sibling? It appears to be making gains fast. In fact, the 18-22 age groups have more eSports vs sports viewers.
The esports industry is young and that presents opportunities. As many real life sports have disappeared behind paywalls and subscriptions, esports has grown through free, online live streaming platforms. As a sector that is growing primarily through free streaming platforms, this makes esports an accessible sport for many young people, who now prefer esports to physical sports.
This means that your market is active online and on social media, up-to-date with gaming and tech trends and is highly responsive to gaming and esports influencers. When launching your own esports business, you should bear in mind that your market is young and active online, so the best way to engage them is through these kinds of channels.
3. Choose the right franchise
There are lots of different franchising options in the sports sector, so it’s important that you choose the right franchising option for you. When you’re exploring your franchising options and are deciding which franchise to work with, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What part of the esports sector are you most interested in?
- What trends are developing in the sector that you can take advantage of?
- How can you capture this market better than other businesses?
- What will you do differently to your competitors?
- What future channels of revenue will you be able to capture in your sub-sector?
Once you’ve narrowed your list to a select few franchising options, you will then be able to pick and choose the perfect option for you.
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4. Set out a good business plan
Once you’ve picked the franchise you want to work with and are ready to put your plans into action, you’ll need a business plan. Business plans always vary slightly based on who the audience is, but generally, you should include a number of key details about the following aspects of your business:
- Where will your revenue come from?
- What demographics will you most be targeting?
- What products will you offer?
- What price point will you sell them at?
- What premises will you open your business at?
- How will you market your business before launching?
You should vary your business plan with differing levels of details depending on who your plan will be presented to, but these general points will help your plan to stand out.
Become a franchisee in the esports industry and join a fast-growing, highly profitable industry today
If you’ve decided that you’re now ready to open your own esports franchise, you can start looking for the right franchise option for you on the esports sector page, or, if you’d like to see a list of franchising opportunities in other sectors, you can visit the UK franchise directory.
Elliott Fudge, Point Franchise ©