How to get sponsorship in esports

If you want to plan an esports event and break even or make a profit, chances are you’re going to need sponsors at this current time. According to Newzoo, industry estimates say that sponsorship is a whopping 50-60% of current revenues.

Newzoo: The Global Esports Audience Will Be Just Shy of 500 ...
Current esports revenue by category

Over time, there will be a shift into media rights and merchandise / tickets but that is a while from now. So if you’re a new tournament organizer, looking to network in esports and make a name for yourself, or you’re a future team owner, how are you going to get sponsors? Here’s a quick guide on my experiences and some recommendations in the sponsorship space. Also, if you want a guide from Razer, here’s an old guide from 2017. A lot of it is still applicable.

  1. Do you have a product to attract sponsorship with?
    • Is this your first tournament or your 20th? Do you have a team and are successful or are you just starting out? Have you been able to get sponsors before or are you attempting to land your first sponsor ever?
    • It took my organization 5 full tournaments that we funded ourselves (things were a bit different back then too). However, chances are the first few events you host are going to be expenses unless you have a brand ready to go. Don’t get discouraged but also be realistic.
  2. Be realistic
    • If you’re asking for $100,000 for your Tier 3 team with 100 followers you’re going to have a bad time. Ask yourself why are you worth that when a sponsor can go sponsor a successful streamer for that money. Sponsorship is extremely competitive in esports. You’ll need to be realistic but also know your worth. Don’t sell yourself short and ask around if you can.
  3. Do you have a deck to email sponsors with?
    • You’ll be surprised how many emails I get for sponsorships or team fees with a simple body, spelling errors and no deck. Show off your successes, your followers, your reach, tournaments you’ve organized, tournaments you’ve played in, pictures with fans, championships you’ve won etc. The more personal you make the email and pitch deck the higher chances you’ll get a response. Put all that info in a deck and you’re already ahead of the game. Sometimes it doesn’t work out as budgets are quite frequently allocated towards the end of the year and set by January. However, if you’ve learned something it’s always a good thing.
    • Your deck will have multiple iterations and chances are you’ll have multiple decks for different purposes. Sometimes it’ll be better to send off an intro deck about yourself + a full capabilities deck. It depends on the sponsor and how well you know them. If you’re emailing cold, include as much info as you can as while being brief, succinct and eye catching. Chances are you’ll only have a single shot to attract their interest.
  4. What is your goal and who are you targeting?
    • For example, think about why you are messaging this potential sponsor? Do I want sponsorship for a raffle? Do I want them to cover fees for my team? Do I want them to sponsor my live esports event? Think about the reason why and keep this in mind.
  5. Why would anyone want to sponsor you over another brand?
    • Chances are, if you cannot answer this questions why would a sponsor take a chance on you? Think about what your unique selling point is for your business. Chances are going through an esports pitch deck could be a good exercise for your business so you can figure out your strengths and weaknesses.
  6. The best sponsors can be the ones you have to wait for
    • Sometimes, the best sponsors are the ones you have to wait for. For example, there was a sponsor where I kept in touch with for 2 years until I finally closed a deal with them. It may sound like a lot but over the long term it was a much better relationship as we had quite a few touch points and still keep in touch.
  7. Know when no means no or no response = no.
    • Chances are if you’ve sent 10 emails to a sponsor and have heard nothing back you’re not going anywhere. Include a note on them and follow up in a few months or not at all. Chances are they’re not interested in what you’re offering.
  8. If you’ve gotten no responses, ask yourself if what you’re offering is truly enticing and are you presenting it in the best manner?
    • Chances are, if you’re messaged for a while and haven’t got much in terms of replies or discussions. You’ll need to try and look at your deck objectively and see what is wrong with it. Ask some colleagues, friends or even people in industry and they’ll be available to give you advice.

That’s 8 quick tips on sponsorship in esports. What are your tips? Make sure you include them in the comments below and i’ll update the article!

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