Top 10 Esports Sponsorships that will redefine the industry
Sponsorships are a pretty big part of modern sports, and this is the case in esports too. Over the last decade, esports has gone from a more niche interest into a business that rivals the revenue of traditional sports. Playing games professionally brings in a lot of esports sponsors. They have become a vital part of gaming. Without copious advertising, most events wouldn’t have the cash to function. Even the best esports streams use sponsorships. Which deals come and go are an indication of the health of an esports, like with Overwatch losing multiple sponsors in 2021.
While the pandemic has impacted esports, the market has shown an impressive resilience compared to others. Esports revenue has stayed high despite the pandemic, with the top esports sponsorships being a big part of this. With so many people involved in esports, there are loads of major esports sponsorships.
Here are our selection of ten investors in esports that will redefine the esports industry as a whole:
10. US Air Force
Sponsorship from a military branch isn’t quite as traditional as some of the others on this list, and there’s a good reason why it makes some uneasy. However, the air force along with other branches of the military have shown an increased interest in sponsoring esports. This starts with the sponsorship of Cloud9, with logos appearing on their outfits. They’ve also ran Twitch streams and their own esports streams.
9. Comcast / Xfinity
Comcast Xfinity has been trying to tap into the market for gamers needing higher-quality internet for minimal lag gaming. These sponsor a good amount of esports here too. They’re one of the top esports sponsorships including deals with Evil Geniuses, Philadelphia Fusion, the Overwatch League, esports arenas, and ESL. There is also an esports-focused arena. Xfinity is one of the most prolific and dedicated esports sponsors.
8. Kraft Group
Kraft Group is a large investor in a number of sports between its many subsidies. The company as a whole has bigger involvement than just teams, they’re one of the top esports sponsors and investors in OWL team Boston Uprising. On top of that they are invested into the Patriot Place an esports-specific arena for Helix Esports and their OWL team.
Kraft Group’s expansive portfolio is expected to grow into other esports titles in the following months. Speculated targeted markets are the Call of Duty League and CS:GO.
7. Mountain Dew/ PepsiCo
Pepsi’s sponsorships for esports include sponsorships under specific brands such as Mountain Dew. This includes teams Splyce, Team Dignitas, and SK Gaming. Along with actual teams, they sponsor the Mountain Dew League (MDL) and other major CSGO events.
You might not have expected a Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange ranked into the list so prominently, but FTX is going into esports and going in big. Over the course of 2021, FTX has partnered with TeamSoloMid for $210 million and even got TSM to add FTX to their name. Only a month later, FTX and the LCS announced a seven-year multi-layer deal between the two brands.
The agreement set a record for the most long-term esports partnership in history. The package includes plenty of branding opportunities for FTX during weekly LCS streams and award ceremonies. We have no doubt that FTX will likely continue the trend of partnering with esports organizations and tournament organizers in months to come.
5. Esports Bookmakers
Bookmakers have shown such an interest in esports, that its downright difficult to select a single one to feature on our list. Operators and groups like the Esports Entertainment Group, Betway, Unibet and GG.BET are amongst the biggest supporters of esports teams and events on the market.
You can witness plenty of events featuring esports betting sites as their main sponsor, and for good reason. Esports betting has become comparable to traditional sports in terms of affluence and interest. Some if not most of the best CSGO teams on the planet are now sponsored by a betting provider.
4. Red Bull
Red Bull has always been a company that heavily invests in sports and esports. Their portfolio features sponsoring a number of StarCraft 2 and Dota 2 events along with prominent teams like G2, OG and Tempo Storm. On top of that, Red Bull regularly organizes their own esports events like the RedBull SoloQ and RedBull Wololo.
When it comes to esports, Red Bull has become more involved, even as they maintain their sponsorships in more traditional sports. They are truly a driving force in the industry.
Coca-Cola is one of the biggest names in drinks, but also in sponsorship. The company has been sponsoring sports events along with other industries for quite a long time and there’s no exception in esports. Some of their esports sponsorships include Overwatch League, Overwatch Contenders, Blizzcon, e-NASCAR, Riot Games, Pittsburgh Knights, paiN Gaming, and Tespa. Their sponsorships go beyond this too when you consider the range of drinks brands they own.
Name recognition alone is enough for Coke to invest heavily into esports, and they are doing so with a large swath of sponsorships throughout the industry.
As a car manufacturer, BMW isn’t the first name that probably jumps to mind when you’re thinking about esports partnerships. However, in 2020, they had agreements with T1, G2 Esports, Cloud9, Fnatic, and Fun-Plus Phoenix, five of the 10 biggest esports organizations on the planet. This alone is one of the biggest new or altered sponsorships, which easily puts BMW as one of the top esports sponsors.
These sponsorships are directly at teams rather than games. This approach has a bit of a different impact. It meant that the high-skill events for games like Dota and LoL had entire rosters sponsored by BMW, rather than just one team or an overall sponsorship of the game.
Intel is a giant in computers, and their sponsorships reached further out into esports than any other company. Over the past decade Intel has sponsored some of the biggest CSGO tournaments, with the Intel Extreme Masters series being their crown jewel. On top of that, the Overwatch League has had Intel as a CPU sponsor for power rankings for quite a while now. Riot Games also has Intel as one of their main partners for all global and regional competitions.
As one of the top esports sponsorships, fans of League of Legends, Overwatch and CSGO don’t go very long without hearing about Intel. As a brand, they are truly at the head of our Top 10 Esports Sponsorships list for 2021 and beyond.
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