The Manchester Giants are pleased to announce that they are moving into the esports space by launching “Mcr Giants Esports” – the club’s own brand esports team.  The action will start with the creation of a team on the NBA 2k platform, which is the world’s premier basketball game. 

The Giants see this move as a key way to engage younger fans for longer and to achieve brand penetration with basketball fans that may not have considered British Basketball in the past. Whilst many older fans may scratch their heads at the concept of esports, amongst millennials and Gen-Z, it is a serious past time with 41% of Gen Z and 35% of millennials watching a gaming stream every month.

Data from Limelight Networks shows that Gen Z gamers watch 6 hours and 19 minutes of esports content a week on average, over an hour longer than they spend watching traditional sporting content (5 hours and 10 minutes). The growth of esports as a serious industry has been extraordinary, and the pandemic has only accelerated that growth with a 9.9% climb in ad revenues in 2020 with total sponsorship expected to hit $1b in 2022.

Team manager Aleksandar Jovanovic sets out the vision for the team:  “I have put together an elite group of players who are extremely passionate and committed to represent Mcr Giants Esports. We will be competing against the toughest competition that the 2K community has to offer and aspire to be the best. We are all very excited to get started and get the younger generations passionate about the sport of basketball. I hope we can be trailblazers for the rest of UK basketball, and get more and more teams on board with the continuously expanding Esports scene.”

Giants Head of Marketing, Liam Brown said: “We’ve had this on our radar for a while but after meeting Aleksandar for the first time, I knew right away that we’d found the right person to push this forward from a performance point of view.  For us, it’s about how we can be as relevant as possible to our fans, and to do that, we need to blur the lines between traditional fan culture and the digital space. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t just be about the 5pm Sunday tip off.” 

E-sports integrates perfectly into the Giants’ “TENxTEN” strategy, which aims to embed the club across the county of Greater Manchester with community basketball opportunities in every borough to reach as many players as possible with a central elite pathway for the most talented players.

“The model for TENxTEN is our philosophy off the court as well as our future on it.” said Liam Brown. “Having an esports team gives opportunities for some of our younger digital creatives to gain experience covering the team on social media in their high school and college years – we can have the next generation of media people coming up through the ranks at the Giants in the same way a talented young player would.” 

You can follow Mcr Giants Esports on Twitch here or on Twitter here.