Credit: The Drum
Lucrative brand partnerships make up for a significant share of esports revenue. In 2019, over $450m in esports revenue came from these types of deals. Esports sponsorships work similarly to those in the Super Bowl or NBA: merchandise, brand logos, etc. In the last couple of years, both endemic and non-endemic brands have tapped into esports’ huge audiences through such funding partnerships.
PepsiCo’s Brisk was one of the first brands to enter esports when it sponsored the Rocket League Championship Series. Soon after, Mastercard’s multi-year partnership with Riot Games to sponsor League of Legends in 2018 was the first collaboration of its kind. Intel, a brand not traditionally associated with gaming, made history when it sponsored the Overwatch League. Other brands like Mercedes-Benz, in partnership with ESL, recognize the power of simply being present on the large screen during an esports event.
By associating themselves with premium events, brands can take advantage of the clout of the growing esports world, similarly to how names like Pepsi, Adidas, and Coca-Cola became synonymous with traditional sporting events due to the nature of their active participation. The possibilities are big: new physical training programs for esports athletes, branded replays, live in-stream stunts, remote streams at events, sponsored giveaways, and more.
Image Source: YouTube Screengrab/Gillette