Competitive gaming and esports are taking the country by storm, and corporate America is paying attention. One of the two teams that will compete this weekend in the Overwatch Grand Finals at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is largely owned by the media giant Comcast.
And the reason is pretty simple, says Joe Marsh, CFO of the Philadelphia Fusion. “It’s about reaching the demographic that’s unreachable,” he said in an interview with Cheddar on Thursday. “A lot of the demo has ad blockers up and you’re not able to reach them.
“To be able to actively invest in something they’re actually seeking out and watching on Twitch and other streaming services and now to be transitioning that to linear TV with the ESPN deal, they just realize it’s a good area to target a new demographic of consumers that they’re going to guide through the next 50 years.”
The Philadelphia Fusion is something of a Cinderella team in the Overwatch League postseason. They entered the tournament as the No. 6 seed but upset No. 3 seed Boston in the quarterfinals and then the No. 1 seed New York Excelsior in the semis.
Tucker Roberts, president of the Fusion, said it was “unbelievable that our team got this far, given that a lot of analysts pegged us to finish eighth and not even make the playoffs.”
The Overwatch League is only in its first year; yet the enormous popularity of the game is bringing 20,000 spectators to the Barclays Center on Friday and Saturday. With that exploding popularity, Roberts sees a strong future for eSports.
“It’s a global sport,” he said. “It’s not like it’s a regional thing. It’s 40 million players from every single country you can think of.”
For full interview, [click here] (https://cms.cheddar.com/videos/VmlkZW8tMjEyMTg=).