Russian bank Pochta Bank and the Russian eSports Federation (RESF) have joined forces to create a new card for gamers that will grant holders exclusive access to a new website, Cyberlab.
The news was announced during at press conference at the Yota Arena on August 23rd. The two parties confirmed a strategic partnership with the aim of growing the esports industry in Russia.
To make use of this new card, Pochta Bank and the RESF have created Cyberlab: a website that caters to “beginner esports players”.
Dmitry Rudenko, President and Chairman of the board at Pochta Bank discussed the venture in a statement: “Today, the esports industry is developing at a swift pace and has an enormous potential for growth. Among Russia’s 50-million-strong gaming audience, there is a core audience of esports fans numbering approximately 12 million. According to some studies, on average, players spend 15% more on games each year. This is a financially solvent audience which is of great interest to us.
“As an innovative and forward-thinking bank offering state-of-the-art financial services and products, we simply cannot afford to stay away from such a promising and interesting market. For Pochta Bank, this is an image project serving to establish communication with what is, for us, a new audience. By the end of 2019, we are planning on having attracted around 100,000 new customers from among gamers and esports players. Already this year, the bank’s total investments will be in the tens of millions of rubles.”
Cyberlab will have a members-only section that’s available exclusively to those who are card holders at the bank. This section will allow users to speak to “esports stars”, it will give them access to online practice sessions, and it will include giveaways and coaching sessions from professional players.
Prospective card holders will need to obtain a card from Pochta Bank, with pre-ordering becoming available on September 15th. There will be multiple designs available, and the card itself will be available to those who are at least 14 years of age.
Grigory Babadzhanyan, Head of Retail Business Development at Pochta Bank also commented: “Not only do today’s young people strongly value financial bonuses and cashbacks, but they place equal importance on quality content and original design. After analyzing a target audience that is very fond of blogs and social networks, and shops actively online, we’ve created a product that provides its owner with not only financial benefits but also access to exclusive content. I’m sure that gamers will also appreciate the cards’ vertical layout and stylish, themed design.”
Another perk of this partnership is that Pochta Bank is now the general partner to the Russian eSports Cup. The main event will commence on November 3rd and will last until the 25th, leading to the finals on December 15-16th. Pochta Bank will award a “special monetary prize” to the MVP of the Dota 2 finals.
Dmitry Smit, President of the Russian eSports Federation added: “There is already a fairly large number of players in the Russian esports market. These include companies that, only a few years ago, would have hardly entertained the idea of investing in this market, and the variety of industries they come from is truly immense. Our strategic partnership with Pochta Bank, a Russian banking market leader, certainly speaks to the industry’s maturity and the great potential of the esports audience. We see that Pochta Bank is interested in young audiences.
“However, even more important is our partner’s intent to support the growth of mass esports in Russia and to market products which will be relevant and useful to the esports fan audience in our country. Data from numerous studies has shown that these are the exact kinds of sophisticated initiatives that can yield positive results for brands.”
Esports Insider says: This is an interesting way to develop an esports audience, and indicates a large investment from the bank. Esports isn’t typically viewed as huge in Russia when compared to the States and Asia, but with initiatives such as Cyberlab and the specially-designed card, it could genuinely be on the rise.