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‘We want people to realize gaming & esports are like any other sport’

Vishal Parekh, CMO, Nodwin Gaming, talks about the association with game streaming and esports platforms and the marketing strategy for the upcoming BGMI Masters Series tournament

e4m by Shantanu David
Published: Jun 21, 2022 8:50 AM  | 4 min read
Parekh

With the IPL having departed screens for the year, TV audiences are flipping channels trying to find the next big sporting entertainment spectacle. This is exactly the gap where Nodwin Gaming is striving to make a mark.

“We want to make people realize that gaming and esports are like any other sport, played by athletes, and exciting and engaging to watch,” says Vishal Parekh, Chief Marketing Officer, Nodwin Gaming.

To further that end, the gaming mainstay has tied up with Star Sports to broadcast the BATTLEGROUNDS MOBILE INDIA (BGMI) Masters Series tournament from June 24th to July 17th, 2022, in Hindi, Tamil and English. The tournament will be aired Live daily on Star Sports 2 from the NODWIN Studios, specifically built for large-scale esports tournaments, in New Delhi. The participating teams will play for a substantial prize pool of Rs 1.5 crore.

Parekh explains that this came about as the result of a lot of conversations over the years, which ultimately evolved into serious discussions, communications with interested broadcasters, and the final decision. And while the tournament and its broadcast were announced last week, NODWIN has further announced an association with game streaming and esports platform, Loco and the Android lock-screen platform Glance as its digital streaming partner for the tournament.

While not going into the exact details of the bidding process, Parekh notes that Nodwin had invited several industry players to come on board, with Loco and Glance finally winning out. “We’re happy to partner with people and companies that are as passionate as us about making gaming into a popular viewing experience for fans of sports. If people can tune into tournaments for cricket, tennis, racing and other sports over weeks, they should be able to do the same with esports. These are also games that feature athletes who are using their honed skills, tactics and strategies to win and advance in competitions,” he says.

“BGMI isn’t just any other game. Since this is the first time something like this is being attempted, we wanted to go with a game that even non-gamers have heard of and probably played casually themselves. You might say we’re beginning with low-hanging fruit,” adds Parekh.

While gaming has a hugely diverse and passionate community across the country, Parekh says there’s obviously a need to familiarize general audiences about the nuances of the game and different aspects of gaming. “Over the next three weeks, apart from the nightly tournament itself, we’ll also have various segments and engaging tutorial-type content on gaming popping up as part of programming to introduce audiences to the world of gaming,” he says, adding that this is a similar tactic employed by other new games and their tournaments being broadcast on TV.

The tournament will see India’s top 24 BGMI squads literally battling it out, with gaming community members cheering on their favourite athletes. The teams and their individual members, with fan bases reaching up to millions that have dominated the digital space, are looking to reach out to new audiences.

While keeping details close to his chest for now, Parekh says Nodwin has left no stone unturned in reaching out to their masses. “We’re trying to do something really different in terms of engaging with audiences, so you’ll have to wait a few more days to see.”

“Like in IPL, there are certain brands that want to be associated with us, and reach out to different markets, and gaming cuts across a broad cross-section of consumers. Just like brands associate with match capsules like ‘Sixes’, ‘Fours’, and ‘Man of the Match’, we’ll be creating certain segments and achievements for brands to associate with. Without going into names, there are brands that want to be known as being the fastest, having the most skills, etc and we are providing a platform for that,” says Parekh.

“There’s also the fact that access to this world isn’t restricted to those with the internet. People watching TV at home can see the players, the games, and the whole tournament directly on their screens. And coming on TV, as a legitimate sport, makes it a lot more acceptable in the minds of people,” adds Parekh, concluding that this will doubtless inspire a new generation of gamers from towns and villages across the country.

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