NODWIN Gaming’s Vishal Parekh Shares His Vision of Esports Becoming Mainstream
On 16th June, NODWIN Gaming announced its partnership with Star Sports, which is one of the leading sports broadcasters in India, to televise Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) events in India. Star Sports was responsible for broadcasting the BGMI Masters Series event which featured a prize pool of INR 1.5 crores ($192,000 USD). AFK Gaming spoke to NODWIN Gaming’s Chief Marketing Officer Vishal Parekh and learned more about the company’s vision for esports in India and why breaking into mainstream media matters.
Connecting esports with the masses
Esports is slowly breaking into mainstream media thanks to it being included in the Olympics, Asian Games, and Commonwealth Games. NODWIN Gaming previously partnered with PVR Cinemas to broadcast BGMI events at theaters across India. With the partnership between NODWIN and Star Sports, the esports company helped the masses connect with esports.
Parekh said, “It’s about bringing a sport to a sports channel. If esports is a sport, then why should we not have it air on a sports channel? That was the question we brought up when we started brainstorming.” NODWIN Gaming wanted to move beyond digital media and bring esports to the masses to show that esports does not just involve playing a game on a PC or mobile, it is a sport that has a genuine competitive side to it.
Handling production and management is crucial
NODWIN made changes to how the production is handled when airing esports on partnered TV channels. Parekh pointed out that, “we control the production of our content at a granular level. If you make strides and have high-quality production, the audience will notice it. But if you make mistakes, it also gets highlighted in a mainstream media format. We take our production seriously and ensure everything is handled meticulously. Esports player experiences, travel, photo shoots, sponsored brand positioning, and other aspects of production are handled very carefully.”
Brand partnerships are crucial to the industry and NODWIN Gaming’s partnership with Star Esports has helped connect brands with esports. Parekh said, “It is not not only important for us to connect to form new partnerships, but also how we speak to them. We partner with brands that can connect with the esports community.”
NODWIN is also training its broadcast team to cater to non-esports audiences. On platforms like Twitch and Youtube, people who already know about the esport are likely to tune in. But when you have an esports event airing on the biggest sports channel in India, it is being watched by non-esports audiences as well.
The production team will ensure that even casual and non-esports audiences are able to fully grasp what they are seeing and begin to appreciate the sport. NODWIN has also partnered with LOCO to ensure everyone has options. Fans can watch esports events on a platform of their choice.
The benchmarks set by NODWIN Gaming moving forward
When asked about metrics and goals set by NODWIN Gaming as part of the partnership with Star Sports, Parekh said, “We do not have any metrics or numerical goals that we are chasing. We are partnered with Star Sports, which is the biggest sports channel here. Our goal is not to hit certain numbers. Instead, we want esports to become mainstream. We want esports to be discussed in local trains and in daily conversations in India and have it achieve the same level of recognition as traditional sports.”
Parekh drew parallels to gully cricket and cricket when discussing NODWIN’s goals with esports. He added, “Just like how you can play gully cricket and play it for fun, gaming is no different. But when you take it seriously, you can be a professional at a sport and that’s how esports is too. That is what we want people to understand. Esports is a serious sport and we want more viewers to come and watch it. We truly believe that esports can become the most watched sport after cricket in India.”
Esports has been talked about heavily in the past few years and we want to take the responsibility to help non-gaming audiences truly understand what esports stands for. Parekh added, “just like how sporting events drive strong emotions from audiences, we want our non-gaming audiences too to learn about esports and become esports fans.”