Esports marketing has come a long way over the past few years. Before it used to be a hobby frowned upon by parents, and the opposite sex, but now one can make a lucrative career out of it. It’s grown so many large companies are even realizing the marketing potential, and have begun sponsoring tournaments, events and individual gamers.
This can be as general as PC or console gaming, or more segmented as competitive gaming/eSports or even in a finer niche such as dedicated to just one game or game publisher.
For instance, obviously, our blog is about the game StarCraft and StarCraft 2. Which is a minuscule niche comparable in the bigger blogosphere?
It’s best to keep in mind, companies don’t just hand out money, like candy on Halloween. Companies need to feel like they’re getting something in return for sponsoring you. You need to approach companies that have some relation to the video-gaming industry, or more specifically, whose target market is the gaming industry. But also on a more positive note, companies can be very interested in sponsoring gamers, and there are ones that are looking to sponsor you, which may seem hard to believe, so that shows how important it is to stand out from the rest.
There are a couple of routes you can take when considering sponsorship.
1) Proactively attracting a sponsor is the route where one uses their sales skills to convince a company to sponsor them. This way can be easy or hard, depending on the individual’s persistence and ability to convince a company that they’re worthy of sponsorship.
Typically this route consists of either writing and mailing sponsorship letters directly to the company, or contacting the Marketing department of a company and making the pitch.
2) Marketing one’s self is another method, which usually has the company approaching you, to represent them. This way is the easiest route because one doesn’t have to do any work, but it takes a long time to build-up the notoriety and popularity in the industry for a company to approach someone. This can be done for example by making it to the top of the industry by being the best at a particular game title, or this can be done by paying a fee. Some relatively new management agencies in the video gaming community such as United Gamer Management, are offering to promote and marketing services to teams and gamers. This can help save time and used as supporting evidence to “wow” a sponsor.
3) Another method of obtaining sponsors is by working with an agent or manager. Similar to how a professional sports agent or manager gets sponsors for their clients, the gaming industry is starting to see growth in this area too. If your fortunate enough to have an agent or manager to represent you and do the work for you, this is probably the best and easiest way to obtain sponsors. In return, the agent or manager takes roughly a 15-20% commission fee for their service. These sorts of agencies can easily be found by a good search for terms such as “professional gamer agency” or “eSports agency.”