Econet bets on nascent eSports market, signs Kwesé Sports content deal with ESL

Nigel Gambanga Avatar

ESL tournaments pull huge crowds and attract a lot of viewership online

Some good news for fans of eSports across Africa – Econet Media, Econet Wireless Group’s entertainment subsidiary, recently signed an exclusive, five-year deal with ESL, a global eSports brand that also the largest video game event company in the world.

eSports is the competition between teams and individuals demonstrated through electronic systems, which are essentially video games.

The input of the players and their teams, as well as the output of the eSports systems, are mediated by human-computer interfaces.

It’s best summed up as competitive video gaming which is then broadcast on the internet. It’s like the concept of watching people gaming, which is what is delivered by platforms like Twitch.

Through the Econet /ESL deal, Kwesé Sports will have rights to use and distribute ESL content and host events across Africa. This will mean the broadcasting of some of ESL’s tournaments that have registered significant following.

It’s ESL’s first partnership with an African TV broadcaster and it will also deliver the first continental eSports championship to Africa.

Kwesé Sports has also announced plans to launch a 24/7 eSports channel in the coming months which will be a first for the African market.

For ESL this deal is essentially part of a market extension strategy which will see it mark out a new territory in a region that has displayed some interest in eSports.

A lot of buzz has been created around eSports in South Africa where there has been some significant investment and corporate sponsorship of tournaments from tech and telecoms companies.

Just recently the Econet Group also sponsored the African Challenge eSport (ACE) gaming tournament.

Econet is clearly placing a huge bet on the growth of eSports in Africa which is still a very niche type of entertainment. Outside South Africa, the market is largely untapped and is likely restricted to small clusters of followers.

The idea here might be to trigger an interest in the next wave of sports entertainment by beaming world stage tournaments that showcase the excitement that the sport delivers.

image credit – ESL

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