Take one look at the photo below and tell me brands do not want that type of mass exposure. This is just one example from one eSports tournament and doesn’t even include the masses of people watching and interacting online.
The Rise of eSports
eSports is reportedly a $1.45bn industry and is predicted to grow to $6.75bn by 2030. This growth has come from increased revenue opportunities, growing participation of gamers, organisers, influencers and developers. The advancement of technology has made it easy for the industry to grow as it is a natural advancement of both the sports and gaming industry. Since the pandemic there has been a growing demand for online gaming and consumers are actively seeking alternative entertainment. All of these factors make for strong industry growth and it doesn’t look like it will let up anytime soon.
Importance of sponsorship in the eSports industry
Due to the growing popularity of eSports, many brand were keen to jump on board. However, with the changing landscape, players’ salaries increasing and sponsors not seeing direct ROI, the sponsorship pool has seen a slight decline.
eSport teams, organisations and events make the majority of their money from sponsorships, merchandising, developers and league payments. With sponsorship being the most significant income stream, it’s important to get it right. Sponsorship can be a very risky form of income, as brands will regularly review success after set contract periods and will be quick to remove funds at the first sight of any uncertainty.
Types of Sponsorships
If you’re a brand thinking about sponsoring eSports or a team, organisation or leagues looking to secure an extra revenue stream, it’s important to know the different types of sponsorships and what the benefits are.
eSports League or Tournament
A good route for sponsors is to join forces with a specific league or competition. These events often have live performances, on-air broadcasters, good media coverage and lots of people watching.
Being an official sponsor of a team is arguably the most well-known and popular form of sponsorship. Every time the team compete, they wear uniforms with the name or brand of their organisation and any sponsored brand logos. Instead of only sponsoring one game or competition, you can use this to spread the word about your brand and marketing initiatives to a much larger audience.
Individual Player Sponsorship
Professional eSports players receive individual sponsorships in addition to their team endorsements, just like professional athletes do. Partnering with a potential gamer’s Twitch feed is one of the most popular ways to start brand collaborations on an individual level.
The affiliate code is the strategy marketers that collaborate with Twitch streamers utilise the most frequently. Basically, the streamer receives a discount code they can share with their viewers which gives them a small commission every time someone makes a purchase.
How to secure sponsorship
The eSports industry is in a bit of a bind, companies are not flocking to offer massive bucks as the hype surrounding esports has faded. Even worse, current sponsors are debating whether their financial support should fade along with the hype.
The positive however, if a deal is done in the correct way, it can unlock millions of digitally engaged, young audiences that are entering their economic prime. eSports organisations need to offer sponsors a value they expect for their financial support.
To put it simply;
- Segment your audience.
The first step in securing a sponsor is understanding your audience and how a brand can benefit from accessing them.
- Find brands that align with your audience and your organisation.
For example, if you know your audience is 70% female and are 17-25, brands who have the same target audience will jump at the chance to get in front of them.
- Figure out the best placement and message for the collaboration.
There are several options for this and the best way to decide is by considering what your audience already engages with and how other sponsors are doing it. The only thing you need to ensure is the key messaging aligns with what both organisations offer. For example, a brand offering high-speed internet would be a perfect collaboration as the messaging is simple.
- Agree on contract length and financial support.
The biggest risk with sponsorship deals is the uncertainty of renewal, be sure to sign a contract which provides stability and outlines the financial support you need. Consider other ways a sponsor can support you, through kit, technology advancements etc.
All successful collaborations require strong messaging and consistency along consumer touchpoints. If you’re still unsure on how you can get a sponsor to sign on the dotted line book in a call with us or check out our other sponsorship content below.