Simply by leveraging the Toronto-based company's flagship publications NOW Magazine and Georgia Straight, ECentralSports will enter the market with access to 6.5 million readers and the support of award-winning editors and writers.
Media Central said ECentralSports will tap into a global market with “extensive reach.” The gaming market is pegged at $148.8 billion, according to Newzoo, a source for games and esports analytics. Newzoo estimated that esports alone reached 454 million viewers worldwide in 2019, with growth projected to snowball to 645 million viewers by 2022.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has triggered "exponential growth" in gaming, Media Central noted in a statement, with people at home “with no live-action sports” increasingly “turning to gaming for entertainment.”
It also highlighted an article in AdWeek, published in April, which said "gaming has exploded like never before and has become the new social currency and a cultural force."
According to that article, US telecoms giant Verizon shared data sowing video game usage during peak hours had spiked 75% since the lockdown, and that “gaming as an industry is larger than the NFL, NBA, MLB and the NHL combined.”
The beta launch is a prelude to ECentralSports.com going live in May.
"We are absolutely thrilled to announce the beta-launch of our gaming publication, ECentralSports.com. The audience psychographics of esports and gaming enthusiasts directly aligns with our existing audience of 6.5 million market and cultural pace setters," said MediaCentral CEO Brian Kalish in the statement.
"ECentralSports will acquire and scale traffic by leveraging readership from our current high-performing titles, opening up immediate opportunities to monetize the new channel through an integrated editorial, display advertising, affiliate marketing and omnichannel sponsored content strategy, designed to benefit our advertising partners," he added.
Media Central has begun testing esports content on both NOW and the Straight with positive traction. The data shows a 37% increase of users' session length on esports content, a 10.5% improved clickthrough on newsletters containing esports content and 8.5% above average pageviews for esports, said the company. “This illustrates the existence of a fanbase who will readily convert to ECentralSports.com once launched,” said Media Central.
The “integration of content” between NOW and the Straight will continue when ECentralSports.com is live, providing “further opportunity for organic audience growth,” added the media giant.
ECentralSports is the second original digital platform from Media Central, following the 2019 launch of Canncentral.com, a digital cannabis lifestyle publication. This is part of Media Central’s strategy to “consolidate and monetize” a large audience of over 100 million readers in North America.
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