Although not a traditional sport, esports earns profits like many other athletics, via media rights, live event ticket sales, merchandise sales, and in-game purchases, with about 70% of revenue coming from sponsorship and advertising, per Newzoo figures cited by Statista.
Not so niche
There are companies that are sponsoring eSports that may not come as a surprise, like G Fuel and Gamer Supps, but also major players such as L’Oreal, Gucci, Spotify, Marvel, IBM, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Chipotle who are involved with sponsorships and in-game advertising.
With more eyes on the rapidly growing industry, more and more companies are looking to inject the industry with health and wellness. One brand staking their claim on esports is Unibar.
“Research and the upsurge of people turning to gaming as both entertainment and an occupation has dramatically increased awareness. A 2019 survey examined the health of esports players and found that a little over half experienced regular eye fatigue from gaming. The focus that gaming requires means that gamers are staring too long and hard, with little blinking,” explained Sevanti Mehta, president of Unibar.
“Many companies have just recently begun to address the issues that gamers experience by creating targeted supplements. Incorporating capsanthin via CapsiClear into these formulas is a great start to better comprehensive care,” added Mehta.
Unibar launched CapsiClear, a capsanthin ingredient for eye health formulations, in 2020.
The value of vision
Most people consider vision their most valued sense. According to a 2019 JAMA Ophthalmology survey of 250 participants, a whopping 88% said sight is their most valued sense.
If the average person places such a high value on ocular health, you can bet the price tag for gamers is priceless.
“Of particular importance for gamers is the value they put on performance. Someone who passively spends a long day in front of the computer or watches a lot of TV needs to be conscious of the effect it has on health, but gamers are putting at least the same amount of time in but rely on their health to get ahead of their competition,” explained Mehta. “A common issue with excessive digital screen time is eye fatigue and strain, often accompanied by headaches, which make it harder to focus and succeed. Depending on the game, the difference between success and loss can happen in the fraction of a second."
Mehta explained that one benefit unique to capsanthin is its ability to help improve photostress recovery, which occurs after prolonged exposure to bright light. “By improving recovery rate, the risk of eye fatigue is lower, permitting gamers to get back into the competition faster without the debilitating outcomes that often accompany eye fatigue and strain. Also unique to capsanthin is that it helps support balanced intraocular pressure levels (IOP). This plays an important role in long-term vision care, but also lends support to the body’s photostress recovery,” said Mehta.
“An additional benefit is capsanthin’s ability to potentially help increase MPOD levels within the macula to protect from the effects of blue light. But our capsanthin ingredient goes one step further by potentially improving vision performance under both blue and white light conditions. One of our studies showed that adults who supplemented with CapsiClear were able to read incrementally quicker on blue light and white light than those that took the placebo.”
Mehta added that incorporating the 20-20-20 rule is a must, which is every 20 minutes look at a spot 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.
Whether you’re one of the fans around the world who watched about 140 million livestreamed hours of the 2020 League of Legends tournament or perhaps an athlete who participated in the event, Mehta said he can’t reiterate enough the importance of the 20-20-20 rule.
Investing in health
While traditional sports were impacted by the pandemic, gamers didn’t skip a beat, highlighting the resiliency of eSports. In fact, eSports likely garnered more attention as a result of the lockdown.
As mainstream interest in eSports continues to grow, so will investments in R&D that focuses on nutrition.
With the rush of new capital from special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) and private equity into eSports, new investors are on their way to funding the next wave of innovation—not just for eye health—but for a wide array of ingredients that support focus, motor speed, joint health and more.
"If a traditional athlete were to break a bone, they would no longer be able to compete. The same falls true with eSports athletes and gamers. If they do not take care of different aspects of health—including vision, cognition, immunity to name a few—then not only do they risk lower performance output but risk being unable to compete at all," said Mehta.
Sports and Active Nutrition Summit event
NutraIngredients-USA's Sports and Active Nutrition Summit 2021 is going on right now, with next week focusing on whitespaces, including eSports. For more information on the event, see below.