The ever-growing esports market will hit $906 million in total revenue in 2018, with $694 million being from brand investments, according to Newzoo.
Sponsorships are perhaps the most important component of esports growth in the past few years, and these new titans of the market are not pulling punches to get this respect.
As businesses look to invest in esports, it is important to highlight the top dogs in the market. To understand their presence in esports, we evaluated the number of teams they sponsor, number of tournaments/leagues they sponsor, and the impact of those deals.
Endemic brands create products that are used while playing or producing esports (for example computer companies). A big trend with esports sponsorships revolves around computer and tech companies getting involved. This natural investment has paid off for these companies.
Sponsoring 36+ teams and the ELEAGUE, a major Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league, this gaming gear company has enormous presence within esports.
2.) Need for Seat
From League of Legends NA LCS champions, Team Liquid and Team SoloMid, to some of the biggest esport events, like the ESL events and The International tournament, Need for Seat engages heavily with esports. However, this gaming chair company does not get recognized as easily as HyperX for its products.
Besides being the sponsors of three teams, (Edward Gaming, CLG Red, and Invictus Gaming) Intel sponsors the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) event, one of the biggest esports events in the world. Last year’s IEM World Championship had 173,000 fans attend the live event and more than 46 million unique online viewers.
ASUS, a lead computer company, sponsors 29+ teams, including League of Legends three-time world champions SK Telecom T1, and also has their own ROG Masters league. This league allowed for professional Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive teams to compete at a high level.
This computer company partnered with 16+ teams, including top esport teams Cloud9 and Fnatic, and sponsors the ESL. Having this outreach helps MSI broadcast their products, but they have a bit less reach than the other computer tech companies.
Non-endemic brands create products that are not necessary for playing or producing esports (for example car companies). While many tech companies have gotten associated with esports, the growing esports following is also drawing sponsors from outside of the gaming world. And while many sponsors come from the extreme sports scene, there remains a plethora of types of non-endemic sponsors. These companies explored creative paths to get their name known to gamers and future customers.
1.) Mercedes Benz
Mercedes-Benz and the ESL have a major partnership that incorporates the car company sponsoring several tournaments across the globe. They were also a sponsor of the League of Legends 2017 World Championship. This enables Mercedes Benz to have one of the highest presence among sponsors in the global esports world.
2.) Monster Energy
Monster Energy has a long history with gamers, so their relationship with esports was a natural fit. The brand sponsors Dreamhack and many teams, such as Team Liquid and Fnatic, but does not sponsor any major pro league.
Coca-Cola focuses on tightening their bonds with the likes of League of Legends, the Clash Royale League, Smite World Championship and FIFA Global Series. They have sponsored past League of Legends World Championship events, which remains among the most watched esport events of all time, and they host multiple esports watch parties.
4.) Mountain Dew
Like Monster Energy, Mountain Dew and gamers naturally fit together. To utilize this association, they sponsor multiple teams (Team Dignitas, SK Gaming, and more) and host their own Mountain Dew League, which serves as a way for teams to potentially earn a spot in the ESL Pro League.
5.) Red Bull
Similar to the previous brands on this list, Red Bull uses their relationship with gamers to help with brand recognition. From there, they partnered with two teams (Tempo Storm and Team OG), sponsored many notable tournaments, and started a regional fighting game circuit called the Red Bull Conquest.
While all of these brands have impacted esports, it can be seen that both endemic and non-endemic brands hold their own in an overall ranking of these top sponsors.
2.) Need for Seat
3.) Mercedes Benz
5.) Monster Energy
8.) Mountain Dew
10.) Red Bull
For companies hoping to hop on the esports success train, it is not too late.
Teams and leagues always look for new opportunities, especially with non-endemic brands. The League of Legends European League Championship Series (EU LCS) franchises next year and teams sought out many partnerships. The Overwatch League is rumored to expand with six new teams next year, so opportunities lay there as well. And the many other esport leagues all have chances for companies to get involved.
For further help, contact us so you don’t miss out on a great investment!