Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s Wizards District Gaming
While the pandemic caused many teams to step back, Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s (MSE) NBA 2K League franchise team, Wizards District Gaming (WDG), took a step forward. In only its third season, WDG won the 2020 NBA 2K League Championship.
MSE’s esports division houses both WDG and Caps Gaming, the first-ever esports sub-brand of an NHL team. When the NBA and NHL suspended their seasons, MSE produced simulated games for the remaining Wizards and Capitals regular season games. Those games were then broadcasted on a regional sports network, NBC Sports Washington (NBCSW), during the previously scheduled game times. Filling content for MSE’s broadcast partners and creating inventory to fulfill global partnership obligations helped to stave off valuable dollars in what would otherwise have been lost revenue.
From a competitive, business, and engagement perspective, the team grew across the board. The team signed eight new partners, secured more than $620K in new incremental revenue – a 43% YoY increase – and even up-sold many existing partners eager to pivot their sports marketing dollars from COVID-suspended sports to the active esports season, which only experienced minor pandemic-related adjustments.
In 2021, WDG is projecting to drive over $2 million, leading the NBA 2K League, in annual global partnership revenue and build on its expanding viewership. While traditional sports were suspended in 2020, MSE struck the first-ever esports-regional broadcast distribution deal with NBCSW to broadcast WDG matches, as well as air games on MSE’s OTT service, Monumental Sports Network. WDG saw unique viewership grow by nearly 70% YoY from 225K to 428K on Twitch alone. The league’s landmark broadcast agreement with ESPN2 secured nearly 30 separate broadcasts which drove nearly 1M viewers per broadcast on top of the existing viewership on Twitch. WDG’s social following – via Twitch, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – approached double digit growth in the season.
Leaders Week London/ / 5-7 October 2021
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