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eSports: An Exploding Awards Market

One of the best things about being in the awards business is seeing some of the incredible events our clients are commissioning us to create the awards for.

These events span traditional categories, or course, including employee recognition, non-profit donor recognition, college bowl games, corporate competitions, and entertainment awards.

One of the new event categories we have begun seeing, however, are sSports competitions. eSports, sometimes known as electronic sports, is a form of competition involving electronic systems, such as video games.

It is an understatement to say that the eSports market is booming. In 2014, some 205 million people either played or watched sSports worldwide, and 89 million of these individuals are considered eSports enthusiasts (frequent viewers/players). Collectively, they watched 2.7 billion hours worth of eSports in 2014. And, most agree this is just the tip of the iceburg for an exploding market: the enthusiast market is expected to grow to almost 150 million by 2017. 

One of the great aspects of this emerging sport is that it is inherently creative and non-traditional. This presents a tremendous opportunity for award designers to think outside the box, and design awards that are truly unique and creative – awards that go beyond the traditional cup.

We have recently had the opportunity to create new custom award designs for a few of these eSports competitions, and were able to create some very unique, memorable awards.

One example is the custom award we created for Wargaming’s Blitz Twister Cup, a global eSports competition for Wargaming’s Work of Tanks game. While the award was roughly in a shape of a cup, it was designed in an alternative form: the shape of a tornado (or “twister”), one of the key graphic icons of the event. The original model was created using a 3D printer, and then the actual sculpture award was cast in bronze. Different colors of patina were applied to accentuate different elements of the sculpture, including a red crackle (based on the logo color) for the main twister body, a gray crackle for the integrated base, and a natural bronze patina for the logo sculpture that was on the front of the twister (to help it pop). This custom sculpture stood approximately 18” tall.

Another example is the custom award we created for NGE (Next Generation eSports). The award was created for the world championship of the Vainglory Cup, another popular, iconic online player video game. The design is based on the “pin” in the Vainglory logo. As above, it is “generally” shaped like a cup, but deviates in a unique, edgy way consistent with the brand. The sculpture consists of three pins surrounding an orb. The sculpture was cast in pewter, and features a combo brushed pewter finish. The sculpture was mounted on a multi-tier base. The upper base was handcrafted from walnut, and painted a semi-gloss black. A cast pewter medallion of the Vainglory logo was affixed to the upper base. The lower base was black marble, and featured a sublimated plate with the event information. The award stood about 20” high.