The Dallas Cowboys, the NFL's most valuable team, are considering a move into competitive gaming of the digital kind.
According to Ad Age, the Cowboys have chosen the Alliance Data-owned marketing agency Epsilon to help determine whether they will buy an e-sports team.
Data from SuperData, a research firm that focuses on video games, found that the e-sports industry generated $892.8 million in revenue last year. SuperData projected the industry to break the $1 billion mark this year. The Cowboys generated $700 million in revenue in 2016.
Last week, Epsilon launched a new practice, called Data Design, designed to show which brands are associated with e-sports and which of those could be matched to the Dallas Cowboys' fan base.
Epsilon developed a model for the NFL team to profile the e-sports target audience, grouped them by behaviors, and, using Amazon, matched brands that appealed the most to each group. The Cowboys would be able to use that information to target sponsors while using its own brand as a way to reach large-scale audiences.
"If we thought we could buy a team for — gimme a number — $2 million, $3 million, $5 million or whatever, but get $7 million in sponsorship deals over the next couple years, it becomes a no-brainer," Matt O'Neil, the Cowboys' senior vice president of brand marketing, told Ad Age.
The Cowboys would not be the first professional sports team to make a move into competitive gaming.
The NBA's Philadelphia 76ers acquired and merged two e-sports teams in September. Another basketball team, the Houston Rockets, hired a director of e-sports development in December.
Multiple former athletes including Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal have also invested in competitive gaming.
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