Toronto Ultra and Bud Light partnership marks the beginning of a new era

Toronto Ultra recently announced a partnership with a Bud Light, becoming the first franchised team in the Blizzard competitive ecosystem to do so. This comes after Activision/Blizzard made an announcement earlier this year that they would be branching out to new types of sponsors and partners for their events and leagues. Back in May, the decision fell that they would be looking at liquor and even gambling brands for potential partnerships (though not in as many words). Now it is becoming a reality – and Call of Duty team Toronto Ultra is the first to make good on this.

© Toronto Ultra

The entrance of liquor and gambling brands into the Activison/Blizzard esports scenes is likely to push up investment levels for teams as these previously restricted brands look to gain representation and visibility in what is already a competitive sponsorship market. Big brands tend to bring a lot of money, and they’re even more likely to do so when they’ve previously been restricted from doing so. Some brands like liquor, gambling and other types of potential sponsors have long since been excluded from Blizzard’s potential investors, as far as team sponsorships or event headliners go – and now, Activision-Blizzard is changing its mind in that regard.

Esports fans and brands

The target demographic of esports fans is a prime market opportunity for both liquor and gambling brands. Many of these new partnerships focus on the creation of social media content to further target the primarily younger demographics. Younger obviously doesn’t mean underage, but precisely people in their early 20s are likely to enjoy esports and reject ‘traditional’ advertising methods – so that’s what brands want to aim for when they advertise in esports. Of course, liquor or gambling brands are no different.

Bar the awkward commercial, Activison/Blizzard opening up sponsorship from these previously restricted industries is likely a positive move for the Call of Duty and Overwatch Leagues. Teams have paid a lot of money for franchising deals, for team houses and have to pay their players, coaches, and staff. Adding more industries to the sponsorship pool increases competition, which in turn results in higher pay-outs for teams – or at least, it could.

The added competition to the sponsorship market is also good news for esports fans. It will likely result in more creative content, more product deals, and more ways to support your favorite teams. Smaller tournaments that may not otherwise have happened could get funded, and new developments could get greenlit. After all, it’s no secret that there is a lot of money in precisely this type of new sponsor.

The opening of the betting sponsorship market could well result in the inclusion of gambling odds in official league streams or in team streams at some point down the line. It wouldn’t be entirely surprising if Blizzard decided to cash in on the esports bookmakers – but for now, this move could entice more bookmakers to offer odds on their competitions. This especially could result in more competitive content, as that itself opens up more avenues for engaging fans in betting.

Mel Hawthorne

[Staff Writer] Mel is a London-based journalist that has been writing about video games for a few years now. After growing up in Vienna, Austria she followed her dreams and moved to London. Said dreams took her through a few different jobs before she settled on what she really wanted to do – periodically anger video game fans by expressing her opinions on video games via the Internet.

Recent Posts

BLAST Premier Fall Finals – Match Predictions, Odds and Selections

We are down to bracket play at the BLAST Premier Fall Finals and we have…

16 hours ago

Can AOE4 unite all Age of Empire esports under one title?

While the RTS genre has been out of the esports limelight for the last decade,…

18 hours ago

Omega Esports banned for match-fixing – Implications on the SEA Dota 2 scene

Match-fixing is illegal, and Valve already makes it abundantly clear with yet another party caught…

1 day ago

TeamLiquid StarLeague 8 – TSL preview and tournament bracket

The TSL series of events is part of the StarCraft Pro League and they are…

1 day ago

VCS Winter Week 2 Predictions – Major changes after opening week

VCS Winter started off last week and we have already seen quite a few surprises…

3 days ago

CoD Vanguard Black Friday 110K Event – Tune in this Friday only

The CoD Vanguard Black Friday Search & Save event has just been unveiled with an…

3 days ago