If you’re one of the many millions of people who tune in to esports events or follow professional gamers, you will be familiar with the world of sponsorships. Esports pros and those who stream games on a professional basis do so with the backing of brands who pay them a fair amount of money to promote their wares on their streams, appear in advertisements for the brands, and brandish the brands’ logos on their jerseys.
The industry has seen all sorts of sponsors, with many of them appealing to the hardcore PC gaming crowd as this is so often the platform that esports are played upon and thus the audience that they will bring in. You can expect plenty of sponsorships from PC hardware brands like keyboard manufacturer KBParadise, mouse manufacturer Cougar, and cooling component brand Noctua. Let’s take a look at which teams are sponsored and by who.
Which Esports Teams Have Hardware Sponsorships?
Most of the top tier esports teams will have sponsorships. When a team is playing on a major stage, it’s understandable why a brand would want to partner with them, offering to pay money to promote their hardware in front of such a large audience.
TSM is one of the biggest names in esports and has teams for games like League of Legends, Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Super Smash Bros., and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. With such a spread like that, it’s unsurprising that TSM has so many hardware sponsors including tablet and smartphone maker HTC, PC accessories brands Logitech and HyperX and PC hardware system CyberPowerPC. Ninjas in Pyjamas, which plays Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and more is sponsored by the online bookmaker Betway, along with gaming chair manufacturer DXRacer, ASUS’ computer brand Republic of Gamers, and Netgear’s router brand, Nighthawk. Meanwhile, Immortals, which has teams in Dota 2, Clash Royale and other major games, counts the likes of gaming chair manufacturer LFGaming as one of its sponsors, with the company even selling an Immortals branded chair.
Other teams with sponsors include Evil Geniuses, which is sponsored by cable and internet provider Comcast Infinity (one of the biggest sponsors in esports, according to Business Insider) and Team ROCCAT ,which is actually named after German computer accessories manufacturer, Roccat.
Should You Get the Same Gear as Esports Pros?
As an esports viewer, you will be constantly bombarded with information from sponsors and so one of your biggest questions is going to be whether or not you should get the same gear as esports pros. Is a brand worth checking out just because an esports team endorses it?
Generally, when an esports team begins working with a sponsor, it does so because it is aligned with the messaging or services that the brand offers. Esports teams may enjoy the way that a particular keyboard clicks, the way that a mouse fits in their hand, and how comfortable a gaming chair feels to sit in. It’s unlikely that an esports team would promote a low-quality product, especially as these pros often have to use these products themselves. It’s quite difficult to enthuse about a brand when you don’t think their products are very good.
Though, if you’re an aspiring esports pro, it’s important to recognize that just because an esports player endorses a particular brand, it doesn’t mean that you need to get that hardware specifically. It’s important to test the hardware out for yourself, comparing price and considering which features you may need to help with a specific game. For example, a keyboard with lights isn’t going to benefit your reaction time in CS:GO, so think of that before you spend money.
Can We Expect Esports Sponsorships to Grow?
According to the Sportscope study by Marketing Tech, esports is now the fastest growing sector in entertainment and has an audience of more than 120 million people. As a result, it is becoming more lucrative for sponsors to get on the jerseys, streams, and merch of esports teams.
As esports continues to grow, we can also expect more teams outside of the sphere of traditional gaming hardware. Non-gaming brands, such as Toyota, Red Bull, and Coca-Cola have all made forays into sponsorship, so expect a greater variety of sponsors to support your favorite esports team soon.