Skyesports on Franchising Indian esports, Attracting Non-Endemic Brands

Posted by GEVGA Editor March 25, 2020 in Esports

There is no doubt that PUBG MOBILE has brought significant changes to the Indian mobile esports market. The game has seen considerable growth in terms of its player base, esports viewership and big-ticket tournaments. While most of the viewership is centered on Hindi language broadcasts, a growing number of fans have started viewing regional livestreams featuring their local dialect.

One of the early players in this rising market is Skyesports, a South Indian organization that hosts multiple mobile esports tournaments in the region. It is also a broadcast studio that livestreams tournaments in its local language: Tamil. Shiva Nandy, founder and CEO of Skyesports, believes that there is a huge market out there for regional players, claiming that there are at least 1M viewers who would want to consume content about the game in regional languages. 

Skyesports began its operations in 2018 with an aim to capture the South Indian audience. “Everyone was focussing on North India, however, we decided to focus on the South Indian audience, which was underdeveloped compared to the rest of the country. In 2019, we only hosted tournaments in this region and expanded our viewership here,” Nandy told The esports Observer. The organization hosted the Skyeports Championship in March 2019 featuring tournaments in PUBG MOBILE, a cricket game called World Cricket Championship Rivals (WCC Rivals), and Clash Royale

After hosting multiple tournaments in various cities and broadcasting some of the biggest tournaments in the country including the PUBG MOBILE Club Open – Spring Split 2020: India, Skyesports now set to host the Skyesports Premier League, which aims to become a franchised league similar to the Overwatch League featuring franchise slots for teams. The organization claims to be in discussions with multiple game publishers who have been receptive to the idea. 

“In India, the franchise league concept has always been a hit with the sports audience,” says Nandy “The Indian Premier League for cricket, Indian Super League for soccer, Pro Volleyball League and Pro Kabaddi League have all clicked with the local audience. A lot of brands, even non-endemic sponsors, are also ready to invest in this franchised league concept because of its regional potential.”

Credit: Skyesports

Very few tournament organizers in the country have managed to sign non-endemic sponsors for their events, but the Skyeports Premier League has already announced partnerships with Nippon Paint, one of Asia’s largest coating manufacturers, and AGS Entertainment, a film production and distribution company cum multiplex chain in India. Additionally, Skyesports is also partnered with Good Gamer Corp., an online engagement marketing firm.

The first season will feature 300 players from 16 different teams with franchises in various cities across the country, competing in titles including PUBG MOBILE and WCC Rivals. Other games such as Marvel Super War and Legends of Runeterra could also be added to this list, said Nandy.

“The tournament will be a month-long online league culminating in a LAN final. We have partnered with AGS Cinemas as a multiplex partner to broadcast the finals in four of their theaters across Chennai, India.”

The first season will not feature auctions for players and franchise slots. He explains that the players and the teams have been pre-invited for this season based on community feedback in an attempt to keep things simple. 

Skyesports will also host a pre-launch event which has been scheduled in April 2020, where it will officially release more details about the tournament including the prize pool, the players, teams, and their jerseys.

Vignesh Raghuram is a staff writer for AFK Gaming.

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