Why This NBA Champion Thinks Esports Stars ‘Are the Next Generation of Athletes’

Plus, Yahoo execs discuss the future of livestreaming

Headshot of A.J. Katz

There will come a day when watching an NFL, NBA or MLB game won't be a passive experience for most. With the rise of esports and fantasy components, the big leagues are evolving and marketers are increasingly signing on for the ride.

At the Yahoo-sponsored Advertising Week session Go Live: The Shift to Live Video, several members of team Yahoo talked up the virtues of livestreaming news, sports and finance.

Yahoo's head of esports Travis Gafford talked about the company's partnership with General Mills to produce Yahoo Esports Live, an hour-long weekly live show which premiered earlier this month.

Gafford also introduced NBA star Rick Fox, who now runs esports organization Echo Fox. Fox talked about how esports was a connector to his son, who is both a millennial and a cord-cutter. "I truly believe that these esports stars are the next generation of athletes," said Fox, himself a 3-time NBA champion.

After Fox purchased Echo Fox, the Philadelphia 76ers today became the first American professional sports franchise to invest in esports. The NBA team announced it bought esports franchises Dignitas and Apex and will combine the two powerhouse squads.

In its 11th season, the 90-minute Fantasy Football Live Now is Yahoo Sports' longest-running livestreaming show. Yahoo Sports produces 120 fantasy football videos every week, according to fantasy football analyst Liz Loza. Loza thinks the future of livestreaming sports will include live game analysis with a fantasy angle, rather than just a play-by-play analysis of a specific game.

"For my 7-year-old daughter, livestreaming is the only thing she knows," added Yahoo chief revenue officer Lisa Utzschneider.

"We aspire to meet consumers' expectations by providing content to wherever they are," said Utzschneider, who boasted about the company's 400 annual live sports events, three daily live financial market shows, as well as Yahoo News Live, hosted by Katie Couric, who will be anchoring coverage of the first 2016 presidential debate tonight

Yahoo Finance editor in chief Andy Serwer broke the news that Yahoo will once again partner with Berkshire Hathaway to livestream the annual Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders meeting in May.

@ajkatztv aj.katz@adweek.com A.J. Katz is the senior editor of Adweek's TVNewser.
Publish date: September 26, 2016 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/why-nba-champion-thinks-esports-stars-are-next-generation-athletes-173716/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT