Esports is a form of digital gaming, where players compete digitally in professional gaming matches.
In fact, Esports is a form of global entertainment and is worth over $1 billion in marketing revenue.
Sponsorships in Esports are not new, but as Esports continues to increase in popularity, the sponsorships are going to become even more profitable, with more and more mainstream brands sponsoring Esports players.
What are sponsorships in Esports, and how do companies choose who, and what, they will sponsor?
Why Are Esports Players Sponsored?
Digital advertising is far more profitable than television advertising and print advertising.
In fact, influencer marketing is an extremely profitable business, and in only a few years has formed into a $6.5 million industry.
It’s important to recognize that Esports players have millions of fans across the world.
Most of the audiences are Gen Z and young millennials, which means that companies and brands can take advantage of the target audience.
And they create a sponsorship that will create more revenue for the brand, by creating ads and sponsorship that appeal to the target audience.
It’s unsurprising that the best way to reach this audience is through digital advertising, which makes influencer marketing, which Esports can fall into, a very profitable and smart business decision.
It’s estimated that Esports has a fan base of 454 million people, globally.
This level of the audience is predicted to increase to the same viewership as the NFL, meaning it’s an extremely profitable industry for advertisement.
How Do Brands Reach Their Audience Through Esports?
Esports creates a lot of brand awareness and brand exposure.
This is vital for brands and companies because the target audience will more than likely end up buying one of their products.
Either because of the sponsorship or because they are subconsciously inclined to buy products from the brand, due to familiarity (from constantly seeing the brand).
In fact, one common example from 2008-2009 is professional gamer Tsquared. Tswaured’s face was featured on 175 million Dr. Pepper bottles in the US, which was extremely profitable for Dr. Pepper.
That is extremely effective brand exposure because the fans of Tsquared then link Dr. Pepper to one of their favorite gamers, which makes them inclined to buy the product not only while Tsqaured is sponsored, but even after the sponsorships.
In 2009, the popular brand Gillette launched a sponsorship with Twitch. This was called the ‘Gillette Gaming Alliance’, and the sponsorship featured a range of Esports players from 11 different countries.
The Esports players then had to create content for Gillette, which provided excellent brand exposure for the company.
The sponsorships in Esports are only going to increase, as more and more companies utilize the value of marketing and the value of sponsorships in influencer marketing and Esports.
That’s why modern and popular brands such Puma, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Paypal, and even Dr. Pepper have created sponsorships with Esport players.
The companies can target a large audience in a range of different countries. In fact, 50% of the Esport viewership is front Asia, which allows companies to reach a wider audience.
How Do Companies And Brands Choose Who To Sponsor?
Generally speaking, advertisers tend to focus on specific games or specific players and teams.
The games tend to be established with a large fan base, such as Fornite or League of Legends.
Teams will be the most popular teams, or teams preparing for matches, which creates a lot of hype around the brand and the team itself.
With players, its advertisers will select Esport players with an extremely high following, and players which have a lot of influence over their fans.
It also depends on the budget for a company, as well as the type of campaign they are launching, as well as the scale of the campaign.
There’s more than just deciding what influencers, too, companies may prefer to sponsor tournaments instead of specific players.
In fact, it can be more effective for advertisements to appeal to a single Esport player, than entire teams, or even tournaments.
That’s because Esports players are viewed as an influencer by their fans, which means they have a substantial amount of influence over their fans themselves.
If a brand or a company sponsors an Esports team or players, they will likely have to create content that will bring brand awareness to the sponsor.
Or, it could be as simple as product placement. For events and tournaments, it’s more than likely that brands and companies will create branded sponsorships.
This means that their brand logo will be displayed at the event, which is a method used for brand exposure.
The method that a brand or company will use depends on the scale of the campaign, but the majority of sponsorships, regardless of the type of sponsorship, are very successful.
The Future Of Sponsorships
The future of Esports sponsorships is predicted to become far more profitable.
The International Olympic Committee has had discussions about whether Esports can be a possible category for competition in the Olympic Games.
While there is no current definitive answer whether Esports will be a category at the Olympics in the future, it does mean that the future of advertising has unlimited potential.
Coca-Cola made itself a global name through advertising at the Olympics in 1928, in Amsterdam.
The power of advertising is known by every company, and the more serious Esports events become, the more brands will continue to sponsor the events.
Sponsorships are a very profitable way for brands and companies to create brand awareness and brand exposure.
Sponsorships are not a recent occurrence, but they are becoming more and more popular and profitable within the world of Esports.
In the future, we predict that more popular brands will start sponsoring Esports events and players, due to the success rate of the sponsorships.
With current sponsorships such as PayPal, Coca-Cola, and Gillette being some of the most known, non-sporting, and non-gaming brands to sponsor Esports events, the future of Esports sponsoring is very bright.