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eSports on the rise in Brazil

Wednesday 03 de April 2024 / 12:00

2 minutos de lectura

(Rio de Janeiro, SoloAzar Exclusive) - From 6 to 7 March, at the Windsor Barra Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, within the SBC Summit Brazil, a series of conferences were held, that brought together prominent professionals and industry leaders, addressing specific topics for Brazil. On 7 March, the panel discussion on electronic sports, also known as eSports, was a highlight, with the participation of experts in the field. SoloAzar was present and in this article shares some of the highlights of the event.

eSports on the rise in Brazil

The phenomenon of electronic sports, also known as eSports, has reached Brazilian territory, and has quickly become the largest market in the Latin American region. Titles such as CS:GO, CBLol and Rainbow Six are increasingly popular among Brazilian fans and eSports are considered a sport by many. 

The conference panel "The frontliners do it better! Discover the eSports scene in Brazil", looked at recent investment from international companies, as well as local franchises and the development of the industry in the coming years.
During the eSports conference, Brazil's prominence as a major player in this sector was highlighted. It was noted that Brazil currently has the largest eSports market and serves as a mirror for other regions. Speakers highlighted the significant growth of the Brazilian market, as well as the success of Brazilian players and teams on the international eSports scene.

The panellists were: 

Carlos Gama, Vice President of Games e Esports , ASSESPRO - RJ.
Trev Keane, Director of Esports Strategy, EPIC Global
Carlos Saito, Partner and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, 3C Gaming
Moderator: Leonardo Benites, Director of Operations, Propane

The discussion began with the introduction of the panellists, Carlos Gama, Carlos Saito, and Trev, as well as the work background of each. Carlos Gama is Brazilian and has been working with eSports in Rio de Janeiro for 7 years. He is Vice President of eSports and Games at CESP Rio, which is an association of IT companies. He is also editor-in-chief at a Brazilian magazine, to "link eSports with academia," says Gama, adding, "Nowadays there are a lot of people studying eSports, former athletes, game lovers, and they can't publish their articles because there are no professors to evaluate them."

Trev is Irish, and is the managing director of Epic Global Agency, which works with traditional rights holders who want to get into e-sports: "Last year we worked with Paris Saint-Germain on Rocket League. We've also worked with Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk as an ambassador for an eSports team," Trev exemplifies. He highlights the theme that eSports needs sponsorship, "We work mostly with commercial intermediaries for eSports teams.

Carlos Saito, a Brazilian partner at 3C, tells us about his background in eSports: "I worked at Gamers Club, which is a counter-strike platform. With that, I got involved in all processes, from sponsorship to organising tournaments and championships. And before joining 3C, I was part of a team working on integrating services and servers to deliver for sports betting sites. At 3C, I started working just before the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a media agency focused on gambling influencers. That's why sports betting or sportsbooks became our biggest clients, and we were able to make the most of the opportunity during the pandemic because of the increase in audience, attendance and players". Saito concluded his presentation by clarifying, "As Trev said, hopefully one day eSports will be as big as football. That's what we've been working on.
The presentation then went on to discuss the challenges facing the eSports industry, including the regulation of gaming sponsorships by publishers such as Riot Games. The need for greater clarity and regulatory support for teams to develop in a sustainable way was expressed.

The pandemic was a topic of reflection, as it was key for e-sports, because during COVID-19, for a few months, no esports were played. People were desperate for any kind of entertainment available at home. eSports were the only sports that remained in daily practice due, of course, to convenience. 

Then, moderator Leandro Benites triggers the debate question: was the pandemic an accelerating factor for eSports? After all, if we look at AI gaming, the pandemic, yes, was an accelerator for it. So, do you think we can draw a parallel between the pandemic and the acceleration of both industries?

Carlos Gama believes that the biggest concern was during the pandemic, adding: "Our biggest concern was, not at the end of the pandemic, but during the pandemic. We realised that we had reached a point where the biggest work there would be to focus on how to maintain that audience that you got at the beginning of the pandemic and, you know, the homeschooling classes, as well as the sports that are part of that. 

Trev, managing director of Epic Global Agency, highlighted the opportunity Brazil represents for international eSports teams. He explained how the passion of the Brazilian audience and local talent is attracting European and American teams to invest in the region. We will replay some lines between the moderator and Trev, talking about this topic:

Leonardo Benites, moderator: Trev, based on your experience, why aren't international teams like Complexity, Ninjas in Pyjamas, GamerLegions, investing in the eSports scene in Brazil?

Trev: First of all, I think there's a fantastic opportunity here in Brazil, and that's what we're seeing. If anyone was watching the Rainbow Six Invitational a couple of weeks ago and saw FURIA playing against W7M, you'll see the passion of the crowd. And what we have here is an audience that knows their games, whether it's mobile titles like Free Fire, CS2, Rocket League or even League of Legends, as we were talking about earlier.

What you have in Brazil is a very solid talent base. The good thing about this, in my opinion, is that as a European looking at Brazil, what has happened historically is that Brazilian talent comes to Europe.
But with e-sports, that doesn't happen. It's the other way around. If it's big enough, it goes to Real Madrid, Barcelona or the Premier League.

These teams come to these regions to establish themselves because the talent is here, but also the structure is here. If you look at something like Rocket League, for example, we have a very good regional structure that allows you to qualify for the World Championships, the RLCS. It's a fantastic opportunity to come and create an ecosystem around talent. I mean, Gamer Legion just moved here, as well as Ninjas in Pyjamas. There are European and American teams that recognise the opportunity that Brazil offers.

The Brazilian market has a mobile-first economy with high penetration and lends itself to a good gaming experience. I think Brazil is the 10th largest gaming country in the world. The e-sports industry is worth 100 million dollars and will continue to grow.

Going back to the experience provided by Carlos Saito, Leonardo, decided to address the issue of the initiative of some of the big Brazilian football clubs to create their own eSports teams, such as Corinthians in Free Fire, and Flamengo in CBLoL, although most of them were not so successful. Hence, the question is why this failure, and how it was managed. Saito, who has experience with Vasco Sports, agrees that it depends on the management and its implementation: "There is a lot of variety among sports, and sometimes people think it's easy to just put together in a room, five computers, five mobile phones, and that's it. And sometimes they fail miserably just because they think it's a piece of cake, and it's not. Sometimes it's very complex. 

He continues with his analysis, "You have to deal with players' egos in the same way you do in matches, also with prizes, sponsorships, things that are complex in all sports. So I think it comes down to that quite often.

"The professionalization of esports stems from management. You need someone with experience, someone who knows the market, has good contacts, knows how to secure sponsorship, knows how to manage the team, and only then can you have a path to success instead of living day by day, which is not sustainable. Yes, it seems easy from the outside, doesn't it?" Carlos ironically reflects.

To conclude, moderator Leandro Benites asked about the challenges that e-sports present in relation to regulation and legalisation. 

Trev commented that the e-sports industry is mainly regulated by the game publishers, which makes it difficult to implement local and international regulatory structures. He clarified that gambling sponsorships can be an important source of revenue for teams and suggested that 18+ gaming titles are needed to allow gambling because, he said, "it is the foundation on which many eSports team sponsorship budgets are built." 

For his part, Carlos Saito emphasised the importance of making decisions based on the local market. He advocated for a higher valuation of the Brazilian market and transparent regulation to improve the eSports industry in the country. 
Regarding Rio de Janeiro's potential in e-sports, Carlos highlighted the city's advantages and the importance of education on responsible gambling: "More education is needed, to achieve responsible gambling. I believe that regulation will help improve the e-sports industry in Brazil, as it has happened in other countries. 


Tags: SBC Summit Rio,

País: Brazil

Región: South America



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