There are many elements that athletes of all sports have to grow into as they become more and more popular. Things like talking to reporters or dealing with social media may put them into uncomfortable situations where they have to learn and grow.
However, one of these challenging areas can decide whether or not they stay on a team or earn additional revenue: dealing with sponsors. Though it can be uncomfortable, the work is worth it. Good sponsor relationships can be the difference between being a major name in your sport or being “just another player.”
Sponsorships are especially key in esports. Here are a few primary reasons that esports athletes should up their game with sponsors.
There is no “I” in Team…
Sponsorships can take esports teams to the next level in competition while helping front the many costs of team houses, managers, nutritionists and travel.
Sponsors feel great when a team they are associated with does well in competition, but how else can you help further their cause? Many sponsors look for teams to make appearances, sign autographs, visit suites hosting VIP guests or even just talk to them to make them feel important.
Every one of these interactions are an opportunity to tighten the bond between a sponsor and team. The tighter the bond, the more likely a renewal can be, even if the performance has not been up to par.
… But there is a “Me”
As an esports athlete, while you are doing your appearances and fulfilling team obligations, you get the opportunity to personally make connections with brand managers and the direct sponsors. These opportunities can have a direct impact on your revenue stream. Ever want to be a brand ambassador for a tech company? Here’s your chance.
Don’t look at these obligations as a hassle or something that takes you away from your game. Look at them as a way to make connections that as you get better at your game, can lead you to become more valuable to your team and can help make you a little more cash.
What about the league/event?
Sponsorships don’t only benefit you directly. This is also about the good of the sport. Sponsors help fund the tournaments themselves, including prize money. Do you see where this is going? If not, let me explain it in simpler terms…$$$.
The more and bigger the sponsors are at these events, the more and bigger the event can be… and the larger the prize pool is. That also means more marketing dollars so that the next tournament is even bigger, giving you more exposure and a larger prize pool in the future, too. Your efforts now are an investment in your future earnings, as well as your cash today.
Esports is currently in a great state to grow sponsorships, increase athlete’s salaries and improve prize pools. However, this will only continue if the athletes buy into the fact that sponsors pay the bills, as they do in most sports.
Go out of your way to make them feel appreciated and it can be rewarding to your back pocket.
Come see us at DreamHack Denver 2017 on Sunday, October 22 at 10 AM! We will be hosting a panel discussing athlete branding. For more information, click here. To view the full DreamHack Denver schedule, click here.