The Investments and Vision of Globo Group in Brazilian Esports

The rise of esports in Brazil had a powerful ally in Globo, the biggest communications group in the country and owner of the leading TV channel in the territory, who has heavily supported the scene and still invests in the development of it, even offering its own competitive initiatives. Following the announcement of a partnership between Globo, ESL, DreamHack, and others earlier this month, the Brazilian media company agreed to speak to The Esports Observer to share some of its views and insights.

Today Globo has a number of investments in the Brazilian esports scene covering multiple events and news, having its own matchmaking and team making platform called  Player 1, and co-organizing events such as the awards ceremony Prêmio eSports Brasil and the Game XP convention. It also invests directly in leagues, having shares of the Brazilian Championship of Counter-Strike (CBCS), two divisions of the Brazilian Free Fire League (LBFF), and also college and school games.

Globo’s Director of Special Projects and Business Development, Leandro Valentim, told TEO that those initiatives are an effort to establish a connection with the community: “We understood that, at first, it would be essential to generate value based on the initiatives we have developed, such as the Prêmio eSports Brasil, Game XP, and proprietary championships. For that, we took the whole scenario of esports to the mainstream, in Globo’s programs, with exposure on open TV, on SporTV [Globo’s pay-TV sports channel] and GE [Globo’s sports news website]. At the same time, we identified the importance of having legitimacy and speaking the same language as this audience.”

Valentim also highlighted how relevant it was to bring the right partners aboard: “We have established solid partnerships with the main publishers in the world, who have Brazil as a priority market, and we have brought in influencers recognized in the community. Finally, the option was not to do isolated actions, but to do a long-term construction.“ When asked why doing such a big project on esports, the director indicates a tendency that might heavily affect the future of sports coverage, as “the growing number of esports players and fans made us study this whole market.” 

Globo shared some of its audience numbers with TEO. In just July, the esports department of GE had 3% more pageviews in comparison to the whole year of 2019. There were 12M users accessing it from January through July, and 37% of these accesses were made by new users.

These recent milestones are the result of more than a decade of work, according to Valentim: “We started with an experimentation phase, in 2008, when we showed the Championship Gaming Series (CGS) and the World Series of Video Games on SporTV channels – the leader among sports on pay-TV. In April 2016, we showed Dota 2 live at ESL Manila, and from there we started to exhibit and cover the biggest esports events in the world, in modalities such as League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, EA SPORTS FIFA, and Pro Evolution Soccer.”

When asked about the future of esports in Brazil, Valentim says it is “very promising. “I have an optimistic look in every way,” he said. “From a business point of view, we see the arrival of new leagues and business model updates, such as CBLoL [Brazilian League of Legends Championship] migrating to a franchise model. Also, new competitive games starting to structure championships, the growth of mobile in esports, and the strengthening of organizations. 

“On the sporting side, we will have even more Brazilian athletes competing in finals, and the country is becoming a point of attention for the largest publishers in the world. All of this will expand the offer for this increasingly passionate community, and we will see more and more non-endemic brands supporting the development of esports in Brazil.”

Sports and Esports

Being the leading channel for broadcasting the main professional Brazilian soccer leagues, Globo has been facing increasing challenges to assure the image rights of the matches. It has recently even dropped the broadcasting rights of the State Championship of Rio de Janeiro, saying that the exclusivity contract has been violated.

TEO asked Valentim if the investment and the increased attention to esports could be somehow a preparation for the audience to see less soccer and more esports on Globo’s channels. Valentim added that “electronic sports follow an independent route within the company.”

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