Is Disney Looking At eSports After Losing The Cricket Streaming War To Jio?

Big television platforms, including Star Sports, part of Disney's Star TV network, and Reliance's Jio, are riding the esports wave in India by amplifying their engagement with the popular online game, Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI). After its return following a government ban, BGMI is catching advertisers’ attention and wooing the younger audience.

What Happened? Per an ET report, Star Sports is expanding its broadcast coverage of the upcoming BGMI Masters tournament in multiple languages on several channels.

Jio, meanwhile, is integrating Rooter, the tournament’s official online streaming partner, into its set-top box platform. The tournament, organised by esports company Nodwin Gaming, begins on Aug. 4.

Last year, the tournament brought in 36 million viewers and 6 million new Star Sports channel viewers. Sanjog Gupta, head of sports for Disney Star, attributed the broadened coverage to Gen Z’s interest, India’s burgeoning gaming culture, and the global recognition of esports.

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This year’s Nodwin's BGMI Masters will host 24 teams, with 14 professional teams receiving invitations and 10 coming in via nationwide qualifiers. The tournament attracts advertisers, as they are essential income sources for esports companies.

More Advertisers On Board: Advertisers are keen on the young audience of esports, but Gupta notes the challenge lies in creating favourable investment conditions. Last season, advertisers included Swiggy, Hyundai, Glance, Gillette, and Spotify. This year, the tournament already confirmed TVS Motor Co as the "mobility partner."

Increased television coverage also boosts players’ personal branding and career prospects in esports. Despite past government actions, industry executives remain optimistic about BGMI’s future in India.

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Posted In: EntertainmentTechGeneralBGMIDisney StareSportsNodwin GamingStar Sports