Globe seeks new revenues from eSports
MANILA, Philippines – Ayala-led Globe Telecom has moved into eSports with the launch of its new Globe Gaming division, which it plans to boost gradually as a potentially rich source of revenues.
Similar to its Globe Studios initiative, the new program was formed through strategic partnerships. The telco teamed up with gaming firms Mineski, Riot Games, and Garena to give gamers and fans access to regional and global eSports competitions along with original content and programming.
But Globe president and chief executive officer Ernest Cu said at the program's launch on Thursday, April 19, that the timeline for generating this new revenue stream is still unclear.
"If you go after revenue right away, sometimes things do not work out because you change the mindset of how things should be done. Similar to what we're doing with digital currency, we want to build a base and interest first, and then the funds will come," Cu explained.
"If you have a huge audience in the millions when we broadcast, then the advertising dollars will come. If you get a great event going, the ticket sales and sponsorships will come. If many people play the game, in-game items are going to be bought and Globe will have a share at that," he added.
The partnerships are aimed at generating more interest in eSports in the country. They extend from offering users subsidized connectivity to play popular games like League of Legends and Arena of Valor, to broadcasting eSports events and building a local team to compete in global championships.
"Globe really looks at what consumers' preferences are and how they use the connectivity we provide.... More and more people are getting into gaming, especially the young people who we target," said Cu.
"There is big sum of money committed to the partnership and [Globe] is not the only one committing money, with Riot and Garena and Mineski all committing money as well. There's never been this kind of backing given to eSports in the Philippines," he added.
The Globe head pointed out that eSports has huge potential, particularly in Asia. In China alone, 3 billion hours of eSports content were produced last year – more than any other sport.
"The viewership has got to be there or else people would not produce content, so there's a lot of interest. If you look at Asians in general, our makeup is not that different and the same thing is happening in Vietnam," Cu said.
"That creates a lot of potential to build an industry around eSports from the gaming, the revenues in game items, advertising, events, and the connectivity needed to pay, so that plays well into Globe's playbook," he added.
This concept of building an industry around specific content or interests is similar to what Globe has done with other offshoots like its partnership with streaming services Spotify and Netflix, and producing original connect through Globe Studios.
"This is the 4th thing we're doing along these lines. We did music, video, and live productions, and now this can be a good part of our portfolio and fits in well with our strategy," Cu said.
Globe plans to announce more eSports initiatives throughout the year. – Rappler.com