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Digital Get Down: The earnings behind celebrity gaming partnerships revealed

  • Published date04 August 2020

Even if you’re not a gamer, it’s likely that you heard of the Travis Scott Fortnite event, Astronomical - named the most-streamed in-game experience to date with a staggering 12.3 million players in attendance. But did you know that Travis Scott could have earned up to 141.3 million USD from merchandise sales leading up to the show alone, or that he may have made a further $326,000 through a rise in Twitter followers and YouTube views? The Digital Get Down r eport l ooks into the earning potential behind popular video game events - looking at player attendance, video views and in-game item purchases - to reveal why more game operators should be partnering with celebrities.

Ahead of the highly anticipated launch of MicroGaming’s Deadmau5-themed slot, SlotsOnlineCanada took a look into the figures behind Travis Scott’s and

Marshmello’s Fortnite sets, and found that Scott made the average US salary of $48,672 in just 90 seconds f rom YouTube views and new Twitter followers alone - and that’s not including any fee he was paid for his ten minute set. That equates to a mindblowing $538 per second, or $132 per word sung. And although Marshmello made considerably less, the DJ still raked in an impressive $33 per second.

Digital Get Down: The earnings behind celebrity gaming partnerships

How much could Travis Scott have made?

It’s unknown what Fortnite paid Travis Scott for his appearance, but if his subsequent Twitter followers, YouTube views and potential merchandise earnings are anything to go by, it was likely an impressive sum. An analysis of Scott’s social media in the month succeeding the event showed that he gained more than half a million new Twitter followers and stacked up an impressive 75 million views on YouTube for his Fortnite set, which equates to $326,172 alone. That’s based on a YouTube view being worth just $0.0042 and a Twitter follower worth $0.019, as suggested by Influencer Marketing Hub.

But Travis’ biggest earning likely came from in-game item sales; with research revealing that 69% of Fortnite players have purchased in-game products in the past - including skins, wraps and tools - and an impressive 12.3 million players attending the Astronomical event - Scott likely made at least $141.3 million from merchandise sales. Available to buy was the Astronomical Bundle at 2,500 V-Bucks, or $22.30, and a bespoke Gear set at $10.99. At an average cost of $16.65 per item and 69% of 12.3 million players likely to have made a purchase, it’s easy to see how the rapper could have earned $141.3 million.

Should gaming operators partner with celebrities?

Partnering with celebrities for exclusive in-game events or endorsements is a valuable marketing technique for video game operators, as players are more likely to have heard of or show interest in a game if it’s backed by a familiar face. And these boosted earnings aren’t just limited to video games - slot games have also seen a significant rise in popularity when paired with celebrity appeal. For example, the Celebrity Slots’ platform has more than 115 million aggregate social media followers among its signed celebrities - which include Amber Rose - which leads to potential earnings of $482,000 alone.

This study comes ahead of the release of Microgaming’s Deadmau5 slot in 2020, which is also expected to boost the DJ’s popularity. The themed slot, based on the renowned artist’s latest cube v3 tour, will include visuals created by Deadmau5 himself, and his grammy-nominated electronic tracks that will likely see a subsequent rise in streams and earnings. Which each Spotify stream estimated to be worth $0.00437 each, a boost in popularity can prove highly profitable for artists.

That’s because music seems to pair particularly well with video games when it comes to online popularity - the report also found that beloved video game soundtracks have made a small fortune through Spotify streams and YouTube views. In fact, the Pokémon Main Theme has made almost half a million ($487,452) through YouTube views alone. With thousands to be made from social media alone for celebrities who endorse video games, it’s no surprise that the number of in-game events are expected to rise over the next year.