“Sponsor Spotlight” is a new monthly series here at Esports Insider that will highlight some of the top sponsorship or partnership stories from the previous month on ESI. The main aim of the series is to highlight some of the biggest things happening in esports, be those new non-endemic partnerships, long-term investments or extensions of major deals.
This month was a big one for esports. The Premier League finally acted on the huge popularity of FIFA and esports in the UK, Betway and NiP reaffirmed their partnership while 100T and Cloud9 secured big investment.
EA and The Premier league announce ePremier League
While the name might be atrocious, the partnership is far from it. We’d heard rumours of the news early this year from the Daily Mail, and it was finally confirmed in October. While we got an overview of what the plans would look like, the ePremier League has not offered much other info since the date of the original announcement, and very few Premier League sides have made any real announcement themselves, outside of a few clubs making social posts.
Right now its still very unclear how the league will work, what will happen at the end of the football season when teams are promoted and relegated etc and if any of the teams will use the league as a platform to grow. Our hope is that teams stick at it, invest in their teams and push on like Manchester City and West Ham have.
On EA’s part, the recent news of 13 esports team kits being given to all FIFA 19 players is a great start, we hope some of the teams see a positive from these shirts being added.
Betway and Ninjas in Pyjamas extend partnership with seven-figure deal
This is undoubtedly one of the most iconic partnerships in esport. When people think of NiP they think of Betway and vice versa. The two agreed to a three-year extension to the deal with a seven-figure sum reported.
Here were our thoughts on the deal at the time “The partnership between Betway and NiP is exemplary and should be used as a demonstration as to what can be done when two companies work together properly in this industry. From NiP helping Betway truly dig its heels into esports in a natural way to producing content with West Ham United, we hope to see more impressive and entertaining results of this partnership over the next three years”
At ESI London we had the two brains behind the deal feature on an panel providing unique insight into the deal. We’ve even got a handy recap for you if you wish to find out more. This type of long-term strategic deal is going to be key to esports’ growth.
Cloud9 raises $50M in Series B funding
Cloud9 has had a pretty sensational year by anyone’s standards Their Overwatch League side and pride of the UK, London Spitfire, won the inaugural season of the OWL; their CS:GO team the ELEAGUE Boston Major; and their League of Legends squad made the semi-finals of Worlds.
Cloud9 continued this success with some off-screen success as the organisation announced a $50 million (£38 million) in Series B funding. Cloud9 will likely use this increase in capital to grow the organisation, however, with the recent Echo Fox and Infinite Esports and Entertainment, new I’m sure Jack and the team at Cloud9 will be careful and make sure to invest wisely.
Esports feels like it’s in a ‘growing up’ moment. Big funding, big prize money and appearances in mainstream news continue to come thick and fast and it feels as if the next 12-18 months are going to be huge in shaping the industry/
100 Thieves completes Series A funding round, welcomes Drake and Scooter Braun as co-owners
We ended the month on a high. 100 Thieves announced Drake and Scooter Braum had joined the organisation as co-owners after a Series A funding round.
This deal goes to show some of the power esports has with the youth of the world. Drake is one of the most influential musicians in the world right now and the Canadian artist has an eye for fashion, something that 100T has already got a good handle on. Speaking about the move, Scooter Braum commented: “I personally could not be more thrilled for 100 Thieves. This is just the beginning.”
This certainly won’t be the last deal of its kind, especially considering days after this news Michael Jordan invested in aXiomatic, the holding company for Team Liquid.