Sponsorship collective logo

Sponsorship in eSports and Gaming: The Next Frontier 

by | February 28, 2024

Why you can trust Sponsorship Collective

  • The Sponsorship Collective has worked with over 1000 clients from every property type all over North America and Europe, working with properties at the $50,000 level to multi-million dollar campaigns, events and multi-year naming rights deals
  • We have published over 300 YouTube videos, written over 500,000 words on the topic and published dozens of research reports covering every topic in the world of sponsorship
  • All of our coaches and consultants have real world experience in sponsorship sales

Before you dive in, if you are interested in sport sponsorship, check out these titles in our “sponsorship for sports” series:

Even if you’ve never picked up a video game controller in your life, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of eSports leagues. Perhaps you’ve even seen them on television.

Today, gaming has left the arcades and is now played at well-attended events. People clamber to see their favorite eSports stars and teams compete to determine who the virtual king or queen of their game is.

I hope you don’t feel like I’m speaking another language right about now, as eSports sponsorships are happening on a grand scale. Most eSports solo players and leagues rely on sponsorships to make money, a trend that will only surely continue.

This dive into sponsorship in gaming and eSports will provide exposition, strategy, and insights to help you plan your next move. 

What Is a Gaming or eSports Sponsorship? How Does It Work?

Sponsorship is having an increasing impact across the gaming sphere. Professional eSports players in leagues frequently work with sponsors. 

By the way, when I say “work with sponsors,” I’m not talking about small brands you’ve never heard of before. 

Major brands have gotten in on the eSports sponsorship craze, including:

  • Mastercard, which partners with Riot Games to support large events like the LoL World Championship (which has a prize pool of over $2 million).
  • Ally Financial Group, which has had naming rights to an eSports event called the Ally Women’s Open, where contestants competed for $40,000.
  • Mountain Dew, specifically its Ice line, which has supposed eSports teams 100 Thieves, Envy Gaming, and the Call of Duty League, a major league for the eponymous game.
  • Mobil 1, which got in on the eSports trend beginning in 2018 and has held steady in the ensuing years.
  • Coca-Cola, a well-known sports sponsor that has now begun offering eSports sponsorship opportunities. It’s been involved in a sponsorship capacity with the Intel Extreme Masters and League of Legends World Championship. Coke began eSports sponsorship in 2013, before it was even on most company’s radars.
  • Microsoft, which has an even longer history with eSports, first getting involved in the 2000s. Back then, eSports as we knew them weren’t quite on the same scale, but Microsoft has evolved with the times. One of its latest eSports sponsorship endeavors was in 2023, when it was involved in a Valorant Tournament through Skyesports with a prize pool valued at $245,000. 

As you can see, all the power players you’d expect on the market have gotten in on the eSports craze, a clear signal to any business that it’s time to get on board. 

However, I want you to be completely clear what you’re signing up for, so let me explain how eSports sponsorship works.

You can think of eSports almost like regular sports, except instead of baseball or football, it’s video games. Some people compete individually, and others on a team. 

Sponsors partner with individuals and leagues, and sometimes opt for sponsoring an entire tournament. There are many opportunities available. 

eSports Sponsorship Asset and Activation Ideas

You can’t have a successful eSports sponsorship without services that connect audience and sponsor, incentivizing your audience to convert. While the nature of assets and activations varies based on each sponsor you work with, these ideas from your truly will help the brainstorming session get underway. 


Yes, it’s everyone’s favorite (and my least): logos. 

New call-to-action

Granted, logos have a more important purpose in eSports sponsorship than they do for your typical event partnership, especially if you make them collaborative. 

For instance, if you’re part of an eSports league and seeking a sponsor, you might propose to the sponsor that you two create a unique variation on their logo for the duration of your partnership.

You and the rest of your team would wear the custom logo on your clothes and maybe begin using the logo on your social media. 

This idea is most profitable if you have a substantially sized audience in the tens of thousands or even millions. Smaller eSports leagues won’t have the same kind of reach and might need to consider a different activation. 

Naming Rights

Naming rights are a huge sponsorship opportunity for eSports players and teams to consider, especially if you have any pull with the event host. Changing an event moniker in honor of your sponsor drives droves of potential customers their way. 

Your sponsor’s name will go down in the history of eSports, which is always a cool accomplishment to add to one’s resume. 

Naming rights can be big business, with some deals going for millions of dollars. Even if your deal is valued at half that (or less than half), it’s still a nice payday.  

Twitch Partnerships 

This is an increasingly popular activation for solo eSports players. Twitch is the premier platform for gamers, with 140 million active users in 2024. 

Here’s how it works. You’d get paid by a sponsor company to promote their products or services during one of your streams. There are plenty of ways to do that rather than robotically saying, “hey, check out this cool product,” which is not convincing.

You can mail out the sponsor’s product or service as part of a giveaway, put banner ads in your videos, or add affiliate links in your stream description and social media. 

Sponsored Live Performances 

An eSports game isn’t all go, go, go the entire time. Remember, you have to think of eSports like real sports, which usually have a halftime or intermission. The real big events feature live performances, typically of the musical variety. 

If you’re partaking in a major eSports event and you can pull some strings, you might set it up so the sponsor can host the live performance. When people enjoy the sick beats and rockin’ tunes, they’ll have the sponsor to thank for them. 

Contests and Giveaways

Some sponsorship activation ideas are classics, but that doesn’t mean they’re invaluable. If anything, that makes them more worth considering. In that vein are contests and giveaways, two valuable ways of getting your sponsor’s products in your audience’s hands. 

Contests and giveaways are the most successful when they’re easy to participate in. People attending the event want to get to their seat and check out the action, not go through six steps to sign up for a contest they might not even win. 

You might allow entry by scanning an RFID watch or wristband, signing up via email, or using one’s phone number to enter. 

Now everybody wins. The sponsor can build their contact list and the attendees could win something cool. Even if they don’t, they spent a minute on your contest, so it’s no harm, no foul. 

Sponsored Live Broadcasts 

For as many thousands of people who will crowd into an eSports event, there are millions more stuck at home wishing they could be there. Sports channels like ESPN sometimes air eSports games, but not all of them.

This is where your sponsor can really stake their claim among your audience. By being an exclusive online carrier of the eSports game, they will get a lot of traffic hits. Designing a website to grab contact information and keep leads clicking will ensure the traffic boost isn’t for naught. 

Scavenger Hunts 

Another great activation idea sure to get attendees intrigued is a scavenger hunt. I recommend the digital variety for an eSports game, as you don’t want to take people’s attention away from what they came for, which is the games themselves.

Besides, when you offer a virtual scavenger hunt, you can expand its scope so the viewers at home can also participate. 

How Can an eSport Player or Team Secure Sponsorship?

Are you part of an eSports league and confident that sponsorship will help take your team to the next level? Perhaps you’re a solo gamer looking to grow your presence, and sponsorship is the key. 

How do you get sponsors? It’s not by sheer luck or connections. Instead, there’s a process to follow, so let’s review it. 

Know Your Audience

Who watches you when you stream live on Twitch or another platform? Who attends your eSports games? 

You need the answers to these questions before you can proceed with your sponsorship goals. 

It’s not enough to have a passing knowledge of your audience. A sponsor is going to ask you detailed questions about them, such as how many of your viewers in the 18-to-20 range have full-time jobs earning $42k or more a year.

New call-to-action

If you can’t answer these very specific questions, the sponsor will pass you over in favor of another league or eSports player. Get the data you need, extrapolating it from viewership and attendance data, the overseer of your eSports team (if you’re part of a league), and audience survey questions. 

You know how you hack and slash the bad guy in some games? That’s the same way you have to dilute your audience data until it’s in itty-bitty pieces. Only then can you keep up with a sponsor’s questions and deliver them the kind of audience data they need to decide whether to proceed. 

Build a Following

Is there a specific number of followers you need to get an eSports sponsorship? Not particularly, but the greater the number, the better. 

Your sponsor will see you have a captive audience when you stream, and that most of your audience regularly gives you bits or coins or whatever the donation system is on your platform of choice. 

You might decide to hold off on pursuing sponsorship until you have a slightly bigger following. 

Focus on Quality Content

Another area to put your attention on is your content. Now is the time to get picky about which games you play, the caliber of gameplay, and who you invite onto your channel, whether as a guest, a friend, a partner, or a competitor. 

Having a record of high-quality content will make you a more appealing prospect in a sponsor’s eyes. Twitch and other platforms also value this kind of content. 

Strengthen Audience Connections

Sponsors prefer if you have sway over your audience. Like an influencer, your viewers listen to your thoughts, perspectives, and opinions. If you recommend a product or service, they’ll buy it, or at least strongly consider it. 

You should want a strong audience connection regardless of your sponsorship status, as it means they’re likely to stick with you through thick or thin. 

Prospect for Sponsors

What’s the right way to prospect for sponsors? By going through your audience. 

Ask about their favorite brands. As an eSports player or league, you can partner up with just about any type of company or industry, from finance to soft drinks. Of course, gaming gear companies that make chairs and headsets are popular choices. 

Your audience might have a lot of varied opinions on which brands they like best, which is to be expected. Narrow down the brands they mention the most often and start there. Research those brands and expand your list by reviewing the competitors of those brands and identifying who markets to their audience. 

Have a Discovery Session

Maybe a discovery session will be a little more informal in an eSports sponsorship setting, but you still need to have one. 

This meeting is your opportunity to ask questions of your sponsor that plug the gaps of what you learned online. Your questions can go more in-depth, looking at the underside of running a business.

No, I don’t mean anything illegal, just the unappealing parts no one likes to talk publicly about, like lagging sales and failed marketing campaigns. 

Even though your specialty is video games and not digital marketing, you can still help the sponsor. How? That brings us to the next step…

Brainstorm Assets and Activations 

I shared a ton of eSports-related activation and asset ideas for you above. Any are worth cultivating and fine tuning to fit your sponsorship opportunity. At the very least, you can use them to launch your own ideas, which is fine with me!

Assets and activations are not there to look cool. They’re supposed to help the sponsor solve their problems somehow. Oh, and at the same time, you’re supposed to provide something to your audience they need. 

It sounds like a challenge, right? But you’re into eSports, and puzzles shouldn’t throw you off. Treat this like a difficult puzzle in your favorite game and figure out where the pieces fit. 

Negotiate Terms

You’re now reaching the point where you’re ready to talk about payment terms, assuming you’re accepting payment from the sponsor. Sponsors can also give you free stuff or media promotions, so you have to know which type of sponsor you’re working with. 

Sponsors can pay you thousands, sometimes tens of thousands or more if the deal is right. You need an audience they want access to, then a strong command over that audience, and ideally, a lot of followers. 

If you have that solid foundation and can offer tailored assets and activations that fulfill the sponsor’s needs, you should be well on your way to finalizing payment terms. 

New call-to-action


You don’t receive money for nothing in sponsorship. It’s not a loan, and it’s not a donation. It’s a transaction, so give the sponsor what they paid for, be it product promotion, a contest, a sponsored live performance, or naming rights. 

Follow Up 

You did your end of the deal, and the sponsor did theirs, but this doesn’t mean you won’t cross paths again. Producing a report after the eSports event that showcases how the sponsor excelled while working with you is a surefire way to get the ball rolling on an extended deal. 

Wrapping Up  

eSports and gaming sponsorships are on the rise, and with them comes new opportunities to connect with audiences and companies, driving goals and providing an optimal experience for both sides. 

If you’re an eSports star exploring sponsorship for the first time, I hope these pointers put you on the right path. You can always schedule a consultation with me or one of my Sponsorship Collective sponsorship experts to discuss your opportunity.