Are you looking to get your first esports sponsorship? Or maybe you have heard about sponsors and you would like to know more about the process. Our guide to getting your esports team sponsored will hopefully help you and your team understand further.
Historically, there have been several fantastic brand sponsorships in the esports world, such as:
- Intel – One of the world’s largest technology companies, Intel is well known for its long-term involvement in esports, particularly their sponsorship of the Overwatch League and Intel Extreme Masters (IEM). During 2018, they extended their partnership with ESL to invest another $100 million in esports over the next 3 years.
- Disney – Leading gaming organization Team Liquid is known internationally for its participation in some of the world’s biggest tournaments. Throughout the year’s Team Liquid has obtained sponsorships from major companies such as HTC, Ballistix, SAP, Twitch, and Monster Energy.
- Red Bull – World-renowned professional gamer Ninja has been known for obtaining major sponsorships throughout his esports career, with backing from popular brands such as Red Bull.
- Bumble – Another leading U.S. esports organization, Gen.G aims to connect American and American players to create a world championship-winning team. One of their key sponsorships in 2019 came from a popular dating app Bumble, where they joined hands to create an all-female esports partnership.
So, What Are Sponsorships?
Whether it’s in the esports world or elsewhere in the professional world, sponsorships can be paramount to a person’s success.
If you receive a sponsorship, it means that a company is willing to spend money or their resources to exchange for the promotion of their goods, services and company name. This way, the person being sponsored may benefit from the company’s service, whilst the company benefits from the raised visibility they will get from the audience you advertise to.
Esports sponsorships generally work the same way. While the outcome is essentially the same, you can obtain sponsorships in many different ways. There are a few key types of ways a professional gamer or esports team can get sponsored:
- By reaching out to local businesses. This can be a common way for up-and-coming professional gamers to receive sponsorships. By reaching out to local businesses you may have more of a chance to speak to someone face-to-face about your request. Local sponsorships can also be great because they can be win-win. You can receive your funding whilst also supporting local businesses.
- Hire an agency. While hiring an agency may seem like an expensive option, you may be far more likely to receive a good sponsorship through this. Esports agencies have fantastic contacts within the industry, which may result in you becoming sponsored more quickly than if you were to look for sponsorships yourself.
- Getting approached by a corporate sponsor. This way of receiving a sponsorship is far more unlikely out of the three.
How To Find An Esports Sponsor
If you are looking to find a sponsor, there are several steps you can take to start the process.
Ensure that your name is out there.
Imagine that you are a company looking to sponsor a budding professional gamer or esports team. What would be the first thing you would look for?
Most likely, you would search their name online and see what comes up. A person or team that is very actively involved in events, online tournaments and can create frequent new content, is far more likely to be chosen for sponsorship.
To raise your online presence, you may want to consider participating in both online and offline tournaments as well as growing your social media platforms. If you use channels such as YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and Twitter appropriately by putting out fresh and unique content, you are more likely to be perceived as a good influencer, which will only help when looking for sponsors.
Find your unique selling point.
To simply put it, you need to consider how you or your team are different from any of the other existing esports players. What makes you stand out from the crowd?
This might be your unique gaming strategy or technique, your fresh content, your ability to win certain competitions, etc..
Finding your USP can be incredibly helpful when pitching your brand to sponsors as people are almost always looking to discover new talent, unlike anything that is on the web already.
Tracking your performance and growth.
To consistently improve as a professional gamer, it is undeniable that you will need to put in the hours to ensure that you are training and improving your technique over time.
If you have been approached by a sponsor or would like to approach a sponsor yourself, you must be able to demonstrate your ability. Platforms such as Edge can help professional gamers with this as you can choose to integrate as many of your online platforms as you want. This integration can then help you track not only your in-game performance but also your competition history, social media performance, and even your previous sponsorship history if you have any.
Alternatively, you can also track your performance by…
Be clear about what you want from your sponsorship.
If you’re seeking sponsorship, you must do your research to understand exactly what type of sponsorship you want. If you have a clear and coherent plan for your both long and short term goals, it will be easier for you to convey this to a potential sponsor.
You must also consider what type of sponsors are right for you. For example, with G.Gen and Bumble, the sponsorship made sense because the dating app focuses on empowering women by giving them the ability to approach men first on the app. By partnering up to promote an all-female team, the messaging makes perfect sense.
Similarly to this, your sponsor should also ideally represent your values and suit your brand. If not, then you might be associated with advertising a product or service you don’t necessarily want to be associated with.
Another important point to consider is what you will be using your funding for. This might include creating a costing plan to understand how much it will cost to run your business. Costs might include travel, equipment, rent, salaries, etc.
Contacting esports associations.
By contacting your national esports associations, you might get a better idea of the sponsorship process and how to get in touch with potential sponsors and companies. In the UK, you have the British Esports Association who can offer further guidance on the matter.
Consider setting up a crowdfunding campaign.
If you are finding it difficult to get in touch with sponsoring companies, it is possible to use platforms such as Twitch, Patreon, Discord, or even Kickstarter to gather funds from viewers.
Please be aware that platforms such as Twitch and Patreon are more angled towards solo gamers to receive donations as opposed to an entire team or organization. However, it may be possible to stream as a team and split any donations made equally.
Do your research.
This is perhaps the most important part. Regardless of whether you are looking for a sponsorship or have already been offered a sponsorship, you must do some research to make sure that you are advertising a legitimate company with good values. There can be nothing more damaging to a gamer’s brand than being affiliated with a company, service, or product that turns out to not match expectations or worse.
If you would like more information about how to get your esports team sponsored or would like to speak to us about how Edge can help you grow your career, please contact us today.