Esports has become a huge phenomenon in recent years, so it’s no surprise that brands are taking notice and investing money into the industry.
How do esports sponsorships help companies contribute to the growth of the sport?
Let’s see who are the biggest supporters of esports gamers and teams.
Top 10 Esports Sponsorships
As the popularity of esports tournaments and leagues grows, so does the opportunity for brands to get involved through sponsorships.
Here are the most prominent esports sponsors that know how to make a difference in the gaming world.
Intel, a technology company, has been transforming the esports industry for over two decades as a partner of the Electronic Sports League, the oldest esports network. The result of the collaboration between the esports sponsors and the ESL is 82 Intel Extreme Masters brand events spread across 15 seasons by 2021.
The newest partnership contract, signed by Intel and ESL in August 2021, anticipates an investment of more than £82 million from 2022 to 2025. They intend to support gaming events from the United States to Europe and all the way to China and Australia with technology solutions that both gamers and esports fans will appreciate.
One of the biggest esport sponsorships of BMW was in 2020 and included agreements with five esports organisations, Cloud9, T1 Entertainment & Sports, FunPlus Phoenix, G2 Esports and the London based Fnatic.
Furthermore, BMW are gaming sponsors for the teams that play non-shooting games like Dota 2, Hearthstone, League of Legends and Super Smash Bros under the motto #UnitedinRivalry and #UnitedatHome.
In 2021, BMW sponsored Team Redline, Williams Esports, G2 Esports and BS+ Competition in the BMW SIM Cup, providing them with racing vehicles to promote the BMW Motorsport.
Coca-Cola has had a number of esports engagements and has long been a major sponsor in the gaming industry.
However, their most important collaboration is with Blizzard and their shooter game Overwatch. Coca-Cola owns the game and has hosted many Overwatch Leagues and other competitive events.
Coca-Cola kicked off 2022 by becoming a global founding partner in League of Legends: Wild Rift. Coca-Cola also sponsors NASCAR esports races, and has partnered esports team Pittsburgh Knights in 2020, and the Brazilian League of Legends Championships (CBLoL)’s team paiN Gaming in 2019.
Red Bull has different individuals and teams who are playing games under its banner. Their gaming sponsorships started with the Halo player David Walsh who was one of the highest-earning esports players at that time. Red Bull continued with its marketing strategy, supporting players in different esports games like League of Legends FIFA, Dota 2’s OG, etc.
Red Bull is the biggest esports sponsor in the fighting games and has organised numerous tournaments like Red Bull Home Ground, Red Bull Conquest and Red Bull Gladiators.
One of their newest sponsorship is for the Valorant team of Wave Esports, which was affiliated in 2021.
Betting providers are also a notable part of the esports sponsors and not only with putting esports on their sports betting list.
Let’s look at some teams and events bookmakers’ support.
- 1xBet – 2021 betting partner of the ESL Pro Tour CS: GO, the ESL One Summer and Winter Dota 2 events, the 2020partner of esports club Natus Vincere (Na’Vi), and sponsors the CS:GO team HellRaisers in 2017
- Bet365 is directed to optimising the SIS Competitive Gaming product through its 2020 partnership with Winners.net and Sports Information Services
- BetSafe is a partner with the Swedish gaming brand GODSENT, and it is the leading sponsor of the CS:GO teams.
- Betway has multiple esports partnerships, including Ninjas in Pyjamas, PSG. PGD, beastcoast and Invictus Gaming among others. Betway also organises esports events together with ESL, BLAST, FACEIT and DreamHack.
The Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange FTX signed a 10-year partnership deal with the esports organisation Team SoloMid (TSM). Their gaming sponsorships cover £17 million per year for the naming rights. All TSM players and employees will get cryptocurrency payments from their sponsors as part of the deal.
One of the most recent deals that FTX signed was a £2.6 million one year sponsorship in April 2022 with the esports organisation FURIA.
Mountain Dew / PepsiCo
Mountain Dew is one of the dedicated esports sponsors who closely monitor global gaming events. They have a special line of beverages for gamers, including the well-known MTN DEW AMP Game Fuel drink.
PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew has sponsored several esports teams and organisations, including Team Dignitas, Splyce, and Team SK Gaming. Mountain Dew, in collaboration with ESL and the E-Sports Entertainment Association League (ESEA), offers amateur gaming teams the opportunity to directly qualify for ESL Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) Pro League.
Mtn Dew has also signed a deal with Envy Gaming to sponsor the Call of Duty League Major I in 2022.
In 2021, The Kraft Group signed a multi-year sponsorship agreement with the Esports Entertainment Group. As a result, they will be the official suppliers for both the New England Revolution and the New England Patriots. This is a one-of-a-kind collaboration that includes tickets, signage, and custom videos to promote the esports tournaments.
One of the primary goals of the sponsorship is to broaden EEG’s presence in the esports market. The Kraft Group sees the esports industry as a great way to reach out to esports fans as potential customers.
In 2021, Xfinity launched a massive campaign to sponsor gamers and streamers in order to strengthen the bond between esports fans and the best in the business, such as BasicallyIDOWrk, Bugha, JoshOG, TheMavShow, and Ekuegan.
In order to expand the gaming culture, Xfinity began sponsoring Twitch Gaming in April 2022. The sponsorship includes a one-of-a-kind programme in Twitch Gaming’s The Weekly, where the latest gaming news and events will be discussed.
US Air Force
Who would believe that the US Military makes esports endorsements? Well, they see enormous potential in esports and are using it to meet the objectives of the Airforce, Army, Space Forces, Coast Guard, Marine and Navy, like recruiting, training and personnel community.
The US Air Force sponsorships are with the organisation Dignitas, the CS:GO Wingman Series Tournament in 2020, the Cloud9 Counter-Strike Global Operations and the ELEAGUE CS:GO Premier 2018.
Competitive gaming has been around for a while, but it’s really taken off in the last few years. Tournaments with big prizes are being held worldwide, and sponsors are taking notice.
And as they predict esports’ bright future, the list of esports sponsorships extends far beyond the biggest gaming sponsors.