ICE 2017 & the unstoppable eSports juggernaut 

The biggest event of its kind, ICE Totally Gaming, closed its doors on its most successful year to date earlier in February. 28,000 visitors descended on the London Excel Centre over three days in February covering 9 industry sectors and over 500 exhibitors. Mongoose Sports & Entertainment's Rupert Pratt discusses his trends from the show:

1.     E-sports goes mainstream at the show 

The big trend to come out of ICE 2017 is of course the rise of eSports. Everyone has been talking about esports for the last few years but this was the year it really consolidated itself in the show, from the conference agendas right through to the stands. Many exhibitors are now equally promoting e-sports alongside gaming and sports betting, and a number brought along their professional e-sports teams. 

The e-sports and betting juggernaut is now clearly unstoppable and, the quicker this gets regulated the better for all concerned. Consumer trust is essential to any betting brand, and bookmakers and punters alike need to be protected. 

2.     The broader marketing industry can learn and benefit from the gaming and betting world

There is a huge appetite for diversity in the betting industry and what they are being offered is getting more diverse and also more compelling – a great example is virtual football teams playing each other live, with life like graphics. Why would anyone follow a virtual team when you have no shortage of real teams to support? Well, you can bet on these guys 24/7…… and just when you thought there wasn’t enough football in the world! It’s also about catering for a new digital generation that expects instant gratification from their gaming experience, while still maintaining mass appeal. 

There’s a lot wider brands and marketers can learn and benefit from in the gaming and betting world, especially when it comes to (often very cost effective) customer acquisition, retention, loyalty, CRM, data analytics, digital marketing and bringing sport to life etc. The gaming industry is leading, pioneering and a restless innovator. 

A lot of the innovation now is about simplifying the product to acquire new customers, that aren’t necessarily big sports fanatics. 

3.     Social media is not fully utilised – a missed opportunity 

It’s clear from the show, that exhibitors spend a considerable amount of time, effort and budget, not just on their stands, but on the marketing activity that surrounds it (promotional staff, data capture competitions and prizes). It’s therefore surprising that an industry that has harnessed social media so well when it comes to B2C, has overlooked the opportunity when it comes to B2B. We can see that the relatively small conversation taking place online at ICE this year, reached 2.5 million people. Think of the opportunities a good social media campaign can present. 

The broader brand, sports and marketing world would undoubtedly benefit from much of the expertise, capabilities and services on display at ICE GAMING 2017, however, there’s still one piece of the puzzle missing. There is still a big opportunity on social media that many brands aren’t really taking advantage of. 

As a result we’ve produced a report analysing the social media activity across the show with a number of recommendations for exhibitors on how exhibitors can make the most of social media outreach at next year’s show.

Want to read our Social Media Report on how to get the best out of the show?

Contact Rupert.Pratt@mongooseagency.com or Katie.Swan@mongooseagency.com

Image result for Twitter logo @RupertPratt  Image result for official linkedin icon Rupert Pratt

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