Stakeholders in the esports industry rely on partnerships for growth. Players and fans are arguably the most influential stakeholders in the cycle but esports may struggle to gain traction without money.
That’s where teams, tournaments, franchises, game developers, publishers and investors come in. Teams like G2 Esports, in particular, depend on partnerships for a wide range of benefits. Some of these include growth, influence, reputation and an expanding user base because if esports can reach a larger viewership base, the likelihood of growth increases.
Let’s take a look at an example. Betway, a sports betting provider based in the UK, has partnered with several esports teams, including Ninjas in Pyjamas and MIBR, to help improve their reputation as a reliable sportsbook. Esports teams use the additional funding to improve access to resources and recruit better players.
G2 Esports Impact on the Industry
G2 Esports is a Germany-based esports franchise. Their range of esports is diverse, including teams in CS:GO, League of Legends and other games. G2 Esports has grown quickly in the last few years and has historically been market-movers in the esports field. For example, G2 Esports shook up the CS:GO universe with the acquisition of NiKo from Faze Clan in an explosive move to bolster the depth in their roster.
The success of G2 Esports, in part, has come down to their ability to monetize various channels of their supply chain, which has a direct impact on their esports results. So, how does G2 evaluate its sponsorship partners?
“At our core, G2 is a global entertainment brand,” Jordan Bellar, Business Development Manager of G2 Esports, said. “Everything we do is focused on elevating the experience of gamers and esports fans, and we look for brands who approach partnerships in the same way.
“It’s not about putting a logo somewhere and hoping fans will also start to support that brand, we want to create truly integrated partnerships that are built for the long term. Brands who share our core characteristics like innovation, confidence, ambition, and are not afraid to have some fun in the process.”
G2’s Partnership with Ralph Lauren
An example of a suitable partner for G2 Esports was Ralph Lauren, the apparel giant. “I think it’s fair to say that nearly everyone has already heard of Ralph Lauren,” Bellar said. “They didn’t need our help in creating broad awareness of their brand or products. This partnership is truly about showcasing fashion through gaming and sharing the Ralph Lauren legacy with a new generation in unique ways.
“We started by including our League of Legends player in their global Wimbledon campaign. This was an incredible platform to continue breaking gamer stereotypes and inspire fans to express their personalities through their own unique styles. This is just the beginning though, as there are more great content pieces and stories still to come.”
Bellar also said that there could be several ways in which brand activations with Ralph Lauren would take place and be measured. “I can’t give too much away about what is still to come, but as with any partnership activation we will measure success several ways,” he said. “First there’s digital performance which can take the form of impressions, engagements, views, etc.
“We also look at the sentiment of the engagement, whether fans love it or give critical feedback that we can use to adapt and adjust the partnership moving forward. The ultimate measure of success for G2 is happy brands and happy fans, if we can achieve this then we have done our jobs.”
Current State of Esports Teams and iGaming Partners
There are now several esports teams that are sponsored directly by virtual sports betting providers, such as Betway, Parimatch and ThunderBet. It has certainly provided immense value in a win-win situation to both esports betting providers as well as the teams themselves.
Apart from the activation that a sponsor can provide, esports betting sites gain incredible traction from a team’s success. There are some expected benefits, such as user acquisition, increase in betting handle and customer reputation. However, more importantly, the value brought to an iGaming partner can be seen in how effectively targeted leads are converted into users.
The esports market caters almost specifically to the niche of millennials around the world. If an iGaming partner’s target is to bring in a bigger base of millennial people, then esports is an ideal vehicle. That helps cost efficiency and targeted promotional campaigns to increase revenue and simply build a sustainable business.