When you think of eSports sponsoring you may automatically think of traditional tech companies being involved. At a certain point that is right, (game)technology companies like Intel and Logitech were the early adopters of eSports sponsoring. However, with eSports growing exponentially over the last couple of years, other companies got involved as well. Some non-endemic companies entered the sponsoring market as they noticed that the eSports business was booming. In this article we enhance on a couple of businesses that you would not directly expect to be the sponsor of a gaming team of even an entire eCompetion, but actually and effectively are.
Gerolsteiner is a Germany company specialised in bottling and vending mineral water. In February 2017 Gerolsteiner announced an agreement with international gaming team Unicorns of Love (UoL). UoL is featured in the Champions League of playing League of Legends. Gerolsteiner sponsors water and other refreshing drinks. Next to that they sponsor the outfits of UoL, featuring their logo on the shirt. Dr. Nicolas Gaede, Senior Vice President Marketing & Business Development at Lagardère Sports Germany (marketing partney of UoL) states that “Gerolsteiner deciding to sponsor eSports is a tough but very attractive challenge for them. It is a perfect way to reach a young new audience”.
It might be the world’s most famous grooming brand out there: Gilette, and as of May this year they announced to partner up with EDward Gaming (EDG), the top Chinese League of Legends team in the world. Gilette has a history of sponsoring regular sport clubs like FC Barcelona, but the agreement with EDG is its entrance to the world of eSports sponsoring. John Mang, Vice President of Global Gilette stated “We’ve all read about the incredible growth of gaming, but it wasn’t until we witnessed the thousands of devoted fans who showed up during the IEM World Championship that we truly understood the incredible passion of the gaming community. The commitment to precision and performance under pressure displayed by professional League of Legends teams was inspiring to us and ultimately led to this partnership.”
Aviasales.ru is Russia’s biggest online travel search engine, and is as of February 2017 a new face in the world of eSport sponsoring. They announced a partnership with Na’Vi, a Ukrainian eSports team. The scopes of the deal have not been revealed but Na’vi’s CEO Yevhen Zolotarov has disclosed that past deals have been worth between $200,000 and $600,000. Aviasales is one of the first non-endemic sponsors from the former USSR. When you visit Na’vi’s webpage you are being welcomed to the words: “Aviasales.ru and its subsidiary Jetradar.com – №1 website for planning trips will help to make your way to the venue. Also it’s the closest to eSports travel search engine – it’s Na’Vi new friend after all. So you just need to choose the date and the direction.”
YoungCapital, market leader in recruitment of young talent, has entered the world of eSports sponsoring in the beginning of 2016. The recruitment specialist established their own League of Legend competition in the Netherlands called ‘The Young Capital Dutch College League’. The matches are being live broadcasted on Twitch and YouTube, where FOX sports shows the highlights on their TV station. “Sponsoring eSports is a very logical step for us” Suzanne van der Cammen, head of marketing and communication at YoungCapital, says. “We want to show that competitive gaming is not just a game but serious business for serious talent. Games have certain special qualities that could be key to employers. Teamwork, talent and devotion are essential, not only in eSports but as well in the office.”
Last but not least a kindly odd partnership in the world of eSports. The 2016 edition of Smash Summit, a Super Smash Bro’s Melee tournament held in Los Angeles, was sponsored by WeedMaps. WeedMaps is a successful weed hook-up app that matches medical marijuana license-holders with dispensaries in weed-legal states. When Smash Summit announced their partnership reactions were mixed, but overall positive. The angry reactions were mostly because of mixing kid-friendly Nintendo games with a marihuana app, which some found inappropriate and dubious. However a lot of Summit fans were positive about the partnership stating that the companies found a way to promote their two favourite hobbies as being one.
These 5 companies are only a handful of non-endemic companies making a move at the eSports market. What to think about FedEx, Audi, TurtleWax or even YouPorn for instance? There are endless possibilities in the world of eSports sponsorship and there are plenty of businesses that prove that you don’t have to be a tech company to be a successful eSports sponsor. What’s your opinion on non-endemic businesses sponsoring eSports?