Is Esports The Next Big Opportunity For Wellness Brands?

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  • SummaForte, an Indiana-based CBD startup, has signed a professional eSports player as its debut brand ambassador in a bid to tap into the booming gaming community
  • The eSports industry is on track to surpass $1 billion in revenue for the first time this year and is projected to reach $1.8 billion by 2022 
  • “Right now energy drinks and nootropics for the gaming category is a huge trend in the US,” Adam Rossiter, CEO and Co-Founder of UK nutrition brand Bulk told Welltodo

BLOOMINGTON, United States — A new father and son co-founded CBD company has become the latest player to identify the world of eSports as the next big opportunity for growth in health and wellness. 

SummaForte, an Indiana-based startup from Jeff and Murtagh Thinnes, has signed Valorant professional Braxton “Brax” Pierce as its debut brand ambassador to help introduce the benefits of CBD to eSports and gamers. 

“We are leading a movement to demonstrate that ‘healthy performance’ in gaming is not an oxymoron,” CEO Jeff Thinnes told Welltodo. “Unlike elite athletes in traditional sports, eSports has no established rituals to help its athletes stay healthy while performing at the highest level.” 

He added: “We sought out an eSports professional ready to embrace a new path. And Brax is an ideal partner since he was concerned about the physical impact of gaming causing other top players to retire in their early 20s.” 

The next billion-dollar wellness industry?
The past few years have seen a sharp rise in the number of targeted supplements and nutrition products for gamers as the fledgling sport looks on track to surpass $1 billion in revenue for the first time this year

While the majority of traditional sports were severely hampered by the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, eSports went from strength to strength. According to market intelligence company Newzoo, eSports is projected to hit $1.8 billion by 2022. 

Esports players earn profits like traditional sportsmen and women via media rights, live event ticket sales, merchandise sales and in-game purchases, with 69% of revenue coming from sponsorship and advertising. 

Household brands including L’Oreal, Gucci, Spotify, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and even IBM are all involved in sponsorship and in-game advertising — and increasingly, health and wellness brands are realising the potential of this burgeoning industry.

“Right now energy drinks and nootropics for the gaming category is a huge trend in the US,” Adam Rossiter, CEO and Co-Founder of British nutrition brand Bulk told Welltodo in January. 

“Five years ago there were energy drinks but they weren’t marketed at gamers like they are now. A lot of these products are used by students who want to focus when they’re revising for exams,” Rossiter said. 

Adding: “That’s very common in the US and I’m sure that’s going to come over to the UK in a big way.” 

Is Esports The Next Big Opportunity For Wellness Brands?

Image: Bulk

Read More: Adam Rossiter & Elliot Dawes, Co-Founders Of Bulk On: Turning £6K Into An £80M Protein Business 

“No established brand was addressing the health needs of gamers”
While Bulk offers a range of nootropic formulas for “improved alertness and concentration” without explicitly marketing to gamers, with this partnership SummaForte is going one step further. 

It is banking on the eSports community helping it carve out a niche in a heavily saturated CBD market, which was coincidentally the last to be touted as “the next billion-dollar wellness industry”. 

Read More: Cashing In On Cannabis – Is CBD The Next Billion-Dollar Wellness Industry? 

“We decided to bring this brand to the booming eSports/gaming space where we saw no established, authentic brand addressing the health needs of gamers,” Jeff Thinnes explained. 

Having launched in 2020, SummaForte partnered with one of the largest orthopaedic practices in the mid-Atlantic region, which, Thinnes said, is building a Centre of Excellence for eSports, allowing the brand to further test and refine its products. 

That led to the brand’s first two products, SummaMix and SummaTape, which he said are “tailor-made to address the unmet musculoskeletal, vision and cognitive health needs identified by gamers”. 

SummaMix is a daily supplement combination of cannabidiol (CBD) for sustained energy, lutein for vision health and nootropics for cognitive acuity. SummaTape is described as kinesiology support for muscles and ligaments that transdermally delivers menthol and CBD for a cooling and anti-inflammatory effect.

“CBD and other minor cannabinoids are ideal to meet the health needs of gamers,” Thinnes concluded. 

“As more gamers become familiar with its benefits, ranging from anti-anxiety to anti-inflammation to sustained energy, CBD has the potential to become a central part of a gamers’ routine — keeping them healthy while also enhancing their performance.” 

So could eSports offer the next bandwagon for wellness brands to jump on? Only time will tell. But it’s one of the few sectors across the industry that’s unlikely to be derailed by another lockdown — and that makes it an attractive proposition for any investors burnt by the past 18 months. 

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