Esports sponsorship power rankings

Esports Sponsorship Power RankingsIn 2017 alone, esports was a $756 million industry, according to market research firm Superdata. By the end of 2018, the industry projects to be worth a staggering $1.138 billion! And, did you know, 70 percent of the industry’s worth is from sponsorships and ads? So, where should brands be looking to invest in esports?

To help cut through the clutter, we’ve created our esports power rankings, which are based off three main criteria, including 2017 game revenue, 2017 average unique monthly viewers and sponsorship opportunities.

Some of the most common sponsorship opportunities include direct sponsorship of a player or team. However, game developers have recently started creating professional leagues for their games, which allows for more sponsorship opportunities for brands. For example, instead of just sponsoring a player or a team, you can now sponsor a player, team, broadcast, league, event or arena. The creation of professional leagues has drastically increased the number of sponsorship opportunities for brands in esports.

Below is a breakdown of the three main criteria, as well as our overall rankings:

2017 Game Revenue

  1. League of Legends – $2.1B 
  2. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds – $714M
  3. Dota 2 – $406M
  4. Overwatch – $382M
  5. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – $341M
  6. Hearthstone – $217M 

2017 Average Monthly Unique Viewers

  1. League of Legends – 157M
  2. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds – 102M
  3. Hearthstone – 83M
  4. Dota 2 – 65M
  5. Overwatch – 63M
  6. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – 43M 

Sponsorship Opportunities (North American Region)

  1. Overwatch
    The creation of the 12-team Overwatch League, based in the United States, plays a major role in this ranking.
  2. League of Legends
    The North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS), with its 10 franchises all buying in at $10 million each, is a big reason LoL comes in at No. 2.
  3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
    CS:GO’s inclusion in the ESL Pro League helped it land at No. 3.
  4. Dota
    Without a distinguished professional league in North America, the popularity of the game and multiple large-scale tournaments led its No. 4 ranking.
  5. Hearthstone
    Although revenue numbers for Hearthstone are lower than any of the other five games in our rankings, the large viewership numbers provide more fruitful opportunities for advertisements.
  6. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
    This ranking may be surprising to you. Even though PUBG is ranked second for 2017 revenue and viewership, the game has yet to monetize its popularity for outside brands. Keep an eye out for sponsorship opportunities in the future.

Overall Rankings

  1. League of Legends
  2. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
  3. Overwatch
  4. Dota 2
  5. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  6. Hearthstone

Obviously, this list isn’t encompassing of every video game that is out there. However, our power rankings should give you an idea of which games can give you the most sponsorship ROI now, and in the future, for your brand.

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