It’s July and we still aren’t watching baseball. Think about that? No baseball. Hockey still hasn’t resumed, basketball hasn’t resumed. And the prospects of an NFL season grow dimmer by the day. If you’re a sports bar, what do you even do at this point? Well, Buffalo Wild Wings might have the answer. They’ve filed for a trademark making them “The Official Bar of Esports.” Does it make sense? Can it work? Let’s dive in!
A History With Esports
The first thing we need to make clear is this is not a knee-jerk reaction to esports. On that contrary, Buffalo Wild Wings has been involved with esports for quite some time now. Not only have they been known to show esports events on TV’s throughout the building, but they also host tournaments and sponsor teams from time to time. This is good because the esports community is not one that is easy to buy the loyalty of. If you want loyal viewers, we demand loyalty to space in return.
So does Buffalo Wild Wings have the cache to claim that title in the esports community? I’m actually going to go ahead and say yes. They certainly haven’t blown anyone away with their dedication and enthusiasm to esports, but they’ve done more than most. I might call them the official bar of esports, if for no other reason than I can’t think of someone who deserves the name more. At least not a chain.
Is the viewing experience worth it?
Like so many sports bars, Buffalo Wilds Wings has one major question it has to answer with esports. “Why would I go somewhere to watch rather than watch at home?” Full disclosure, I had Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner last night. I happen to be a fan of their wings. However, I door-dashed it while watching Hamilton on Disney+ and that’s my biggest concern.
The esports viewing experience is as good at home as it is in a bar more often than not. So why wouldn’t I just order in some food and watch from my own couch? With my own bathroom. And no pants on. TMI? Sorry. The point is they’re going to need a hook to get people to actually come in and watch. They might be able to play up the excitement of watching with a crowd of people, but I feel like that only takes you so far.
So is Buffalo Wild Wings making a play at being the official bar of esports the right move?
Yes. Absolutely. They may not succeed in carving out that niche, but it’s absolutely the right call to try. Esports isn’t going anywhere. It’s only going to continue growing as Millenials and Gen Z starts having kids of their own. So if you’re out there waiting for the fad to die, I wouldn’t hold my breath. You’re going to turn blue long before esports disappears. And B-Dubbs is far from the first to try and stake this claim. We’ve already had companies purport to be the official beer of esports.
The difference here is that Buffalo Wild Wings does have a track record of involvement with esports, and could actually have something to offer the space. My guess is this won’t be a gang-busters move for them, but it will be successful. If nothing else, I wouldn’t mind watching the League of Legends World Championships with some Asian Zing and potato wedges. Anyway, time to eat!
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Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Buffalo Wild Wings