Activision Blizzard announced on Monday that it will be working with data firm Nielsen to provide analytics on the value of sponsorships across its esports events and titles.
Nielsen's esports arm will be assessing the value of esports sponsorships in the same way it tracks those for traditional sporting events, something that Activision Blizzard has said demonstrates a 'commitment to its advertisers and third-party verification.'
The first events to be tracked by Nielsen will be the ongoing Overwatch League, the Overwatch Contenders, Overwatch World Cup and the Call of Duty World League. However, Blizzard also have Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone and Starcraft tournaments occuring around the world, so it wouldn't be too surprising to see Neilsen start working on these over the next couple of years if the initial partnership goes well.
Independent verification of the value of sponsorships should go some way to reassuring non-endemic brands looking to test the value of involvement in esports. The process is described by Activision Blizzard as thus: "If X Brand purchases a sponsorship package that shows their logo in broadcast, Nielsen will measure the size of the logo, placement in broadcast, amount of time on screen, etc. to determine whether the brand received the proper value for the amount of money they spent."
This could well be the start of esports tournaments adopting tracking companies to provide real data on their sponsorships, and several non-endemic brands and esports companies will no doubt be keeping an eye on how it performs.