Grid League 2023 – year in review

My honest assessment of key metrics around the health of the sport of Grid League in 2023.

First and foremost, if you followed along this past Season, we are grateful for your time and attention. It is not taken lightly and we will always strive for you to have a better and better experience with the sport and League every time you tune in.

 

In reflection of the 2023 Season, the following is a list of important aspects of the sport we invest in to push the growth of the sport. I include some notable progress and a self-assessed “grade” on how we are doing in each (its not all good).

 

Social Media:

  • Passed the 1 million follower mark across all platforms (currently up to 1.3m)
  • Achieved 100k+ followers on 4 different platforms (IG, TT, YT, FB)
  • Increased total content impressions to about 500 million in 2023 (330m in 2022)

** Meeting expectations – Short-form video content is one thing we feel we have a very solid understanding and handle on. The constraint in this department is manpower, not strategy.

 

In-person viewership:

  • Showcased in 4 sports expos (vs 1 in 2022) including Mr Olympia (tens of thousands of attendees)
  • New attendance record (and sell out) for exclusive Grid League event in the North (August event at Valor)

** Meeting expectations – I would call this a big success as we have also been complimented by and invited back to all of the expos we attended this year. We expect happy partners, so our expectations are met.

 

Match broadcast:

  • Livestream total viewership (15min/view) increased from 270k (all of 2022) to 375k YTD (and counting)
  • Day-of broadcast viewership for the Championship event nearly doubled from 4100 to 7700 YOY (most views happen after the fact as the algorithm serves them)

** Not meeting expectations – growth was achieved which is most important to us, however, I believe we are leaving an opportunity on the table here. I expand on this later.

 

Player benefits:

  • The total player following increased from 800k to 1.3million (includes self-achieved growth)
  • Average total player benefit value total (includes swag, prizes, player-driven sponsorships, and league-driven sponsorships) increased to a total of $1,300/player in value. This is average, some did not reach this and some far exceeded it.

 

** Exceeding expectations – We did not expect player-driven sponsorships to grow at the clip they did this year nearly doubling from 2022. This combined with a very healthy League-driven program created value for players that is unrivaled in the space (for the average competitor) with the exception of the Rogue Invitational and the CrossFit games.

 

NOTE: A player driven sponsorship is a logo spot on the uniform they sold. A League driven sponsorship is one where players are hired as part of a League sponsor campaign. More on player benefit breakdown here.

 

Sponsorship partners:

  • 67% increase in sponsorship revenue from 2022 to 2023
  • Feedback has been extremely positive with the vast majority of partners planning to return for 2024 and increasing their level of involvement

 

** Meeting expectations – On the good side: our feedback has indicated we have an extremely unique and valuable suite of sponsorship “services” compared to similar properties, and exceed expectations when it comes to things like communication and reporting (go Ruby). On the bad(ish) side: we’ve also been told our total sponsorship inventory of value far exceeds the current revenue realized with our partnerships. This means we have a lot more value to give AND a lot is currently being left on the table. This is a big problem, but a great problem to have and we look to correct it heading into 2024.

 

Staff:

  • We have a quickly growing group of the most badass people a sport could ask for. Nuff said.

 

Addressing the broadcast results –

 

I will preface by saying that this sports property is unlike any other for many reasons. Digging into what those differences are and what they mean is a complete topic on its own, however, the main point is we don’t get too vested in the meaning behind certain statistics because there is nothing to compare to when it comes to what the sport “should” be accomplishing in the name of growth.

 

That said, given that there are hundreds of millions of views of our short-form content, I believe it is reasonable to assume we should be able to get a higher percentage to become big enough fans to plan to watch the matches. Right now we have hundreds of thousands of “casual fans” who will watch a match (at an average of 15-20 minutes) when the right opportunity is presented at the right time via the algorithm. The goal: get more of those casual fans to become big fans and even raving fans to where they plan around watching the live matches.

 

We have lots of ways we plan to address this objective in 2024. If you want to read some of them, read the article at the link below

Have a question? Email us: staff@thefgl.com

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Article by Mather Wiswall

Grid League Commissioner

 

Mather Wiswall is a lifelong designer and marketer. He has over 10 years of experience in running sports competitions.

Articles by Mather are generally about rule updates or the business behind the Grid League.