Key esports sponsorships and partnerships: February 2024

esports partnership roundup february 2024

Each month, Esports Insider recaps the biggest esports sponsorships, partnerships and brand activations from the month prior. Below is our list of the biggest sponsorship and partnership news stories from January 2024.

January saw a relative slowdown but some strong and important deals come through nonetheless from Kick, 1xBet, Rivalry, Panda Express, Intel and more. Notorious PC brand IBUYPOWER also made its return to esports, and a Malaysian milk brand launched an interesting marketing activation.

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Spotlighted story:

(ESI Illustration) Image credit: AT&T, LCS

The LCS, Riot Games‘ franchised North American League of Legends competition, announced a multi-year partnership with American multinational conglomerate AT&T. As a result of the deal, AT&T will become the official connectivity partner of the competition.

AT&T will present a broadcast segment focusing on what happens behind the scenes of the LCS when matches are taking place. This will also include real-time audio from team communications. In addition, the conglomerate will also become the primary sponsor of the LCS Fan Fest which takes place before the regular-season Finals and Championship.

AT&T‘s brand will feature inside LCS matches through in-game logo integration. The logo will also be present on the headsets of players, referees, and commentators.

PGL 1xBet PGL Major Copenhagen no border
Image credit: PGL / 1xBet

Esports tournament organiser PGL struck a partnership with Cyprus-based online gambling company 1xBet for Counter-Strike’s upcoming PGL Major Copenhagen. PGL has named 1xBet as the official betting partner for the event, which takes place from March 17th-31st in Copenhagen, Denmark.

PGL Major Copenhagen will be the first ever Major in Counter-Strike 2, following the transition away from CS:GO last year. Qualifying events for the Major called RMRs are set to take place starting in and throughout February.

PGL did not provide details on terms, nor what activations would be included in the partnership. 1xBet said in a post on X it would be the ‘main partner’ of the event. The tournament organiser did not respond to two requests for comment.

LCS and PAGODA Snacks
Image credit: LCS

The LCS, Riot Games’ franchised North American League of Legends competition, secured a partnership with snack brand PAGODA Snacks. For the remainder of the 2024 LCS season, PAGODA Snacks will be integrated into LCS broadcasts through a ‘Let Him Cook’ segment that spotlights plays and moments of the day.

As LCS’ ‘Official Egg Roll’, the snack brand will also take part in activations, product drops and giveaways. Moreover, PAGODA Snacks’ broadcast integrations include the ‘Put the Egg Rolls In’ Tech Pause, which will appear when games are paused. 

In a press release, Riot Games announced that the PAGODA Snacks partnership will last until 2026. It was also teased that additional PAGODA Snacks activations, like drops and promotions, will occur throughout the partnership.  

Blacklist Rivalry Roster
Image credit: Blacklist Rivalry

Esports bookmaker Rivalry renewed its Dota 2 partnership with Tier One Entertainment-owned esports organisation Blacklist International. As a result of the deal, the two companies will continue to jointly operate Southeast Asian Dota 2 team Blacklist Rivalry.

According to a release, the partnership will also be expanded to focus on more ‘creative storytelling’ and fan-focused activations. Some of the activations noted include meet-and-greets and producing new episodes of Blacklist Rivalry’s behind-the-scenes docuseries UnRivaled. Activations at Dota 2 events were also highlighted in the new partnership.

Blacklist Rivalry was first launched in December 2022 in a deal that saw Tier One Entertainment enter the Dota 2 scene. Since the team’s debut, Blacklist Rivalry has qualified for two tier-one events – ESL One Kuala Lumpur 2023 and the Bali Major 2023.

Kick and PGL CS2
Image credit: Kick, via X (@KickStreaming)

The CS2 Major Copenhagen, organised by tournament operator PGL, has become one of the first major esports events to have an official broadcast on streaming platform Kick.

It was quickly revealed shortly after PGL’s social media announcement that it will not be an exclusive deal, with Counter-Strike 2’s first-ever Major still being broadcast on Youtube and Twitch.

Founded in 2022, Kick has slowly grown to become a competitor to streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube Gaming, albeit the former still being the biggest in the market by some margin. This is largely due to Kick signing high-profile streamers to lucrative contracts such as xQc, Amouranth and Adin Ross. The platform’s move into esports, however, has only been more recent.

Earlier this year, Kick secured a partnership with Singaporean esports organisation Bleed Esports. The deal sees Kick’s branding be featured across BLEED’s esports jerseys and throughout the organisation’s social media platform.

Image of NRG and Panda Express logos on blurred background of headset and food cartons
Image credit: NRG, Panda Express

North American esports organisation NRG announced a Rocket League-focused partnership with American restaurant chain Panda Express. As a result of the deal, the two parties will collaborate on several activations ranging from giveaways to brand integration across social media channels.

The partnership marks Panda Express’ first foray into the esports space. Joining forces with NRG will see the restaurant chain integrate into the organisation’s ‘Mission Control’ broadcast show through on-air meals and exclusive content playing during breaks.

In addition, each Mission Control broadcast will begin with a new segment known as the Panda Express Pre Game where commentators will analyse Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) matches while eating meals provided by the chain.

HanseMerkur and VALORANT Challengers key graphic
Image credit: VALORANT Challengers DACH

German insurance company HanseMerkur become the official naming partner for the VALORANT Challengers DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) league. Expanding its previous involvement in VALORANT esports for 2024, the company will assist in the league’s organisation and offer giveaways for its community.

In return, HanseMerkur’s logo will be featured on the event’s social media as well as its live stream. The HanseMerkur Instant Replay segment will also provide additional brand visibility. Founded in 1969, German insurance company HanseMerkur specialises in the health and tourist insurance sector.

iBUYPOWER named the official PC partner of VCT Americas
iBUYPOWER named the official PC partner of VCT Americas

North American custom PC builder iBUYPOWER was announced as the official PC partner of the VALORANT Champions Tour Americas, VCT Game Changers North America and VCT Game Changers Brazil.

iBUYPOWER will provide PCs for all LAN competitions in the mentioned tournaments and create a series of VCT-branded PCs. The PC builder will also work with Riot Games on content and activations during the leagues.

iBUYPOWER is infamous for its Counter-Strike team, which was banned in a matchfixing scandal in 2014, after which it dropped its team.

Six Invitational BLAST partners
Image credit: BLAST

Esports tournament organiser BLAST announced seven brands as sponsors of Rainbow Six Siege’s Six Invitational 2024. The Six Invitational 2024, which began today, has partnered with Intel, Lenovo, JBL, Eureka Ergonomics, Kingston Technology, CTRL and Aura.

The Six Invitational is taking place at the Ginásio do Ibirapuera, São Paulo, Brazil, and will see the best Rainbow Six Siege teams compete against each other for a chance to lift the iconic hammer trophy and receive some of the $3m (~£2.4m) prize pool.

One of the biggest partners in esports is Intel, largely due to its presence in every aspect of the industry from grassroots to the biggest of stages. The PC hardware manufacturer will be the official event partner for the Six Invitational.

Image of Rivalry and Launders CS2 LAN tournament logo on blurred CS2 background
Image credit: Rivalry

Esports betting company Rivalry and Counter-Strike commentator Mohan ‘Launders’ Govindasamy unveiled their second Counter-Strike 2 LAN tournament. Known as the Launders LAN, the event will take place from April 20th to the 21st at The Warehouse located in downtown Toronto Canada.

The event will be operated by Rivalry and is the sequel to FragFest, the first Counter-Strike 2 LAN hosted by the betting company and Launders. Launders LAN will be an expansion of the first event, featuring 32 teams and a $10,000 CAD (~£5,841) prize pool.

Alongside the increase in teams and prize pool, the event will also feature several on-site activations ranging from exclusive merchandise to contests for attendees to participate in. Rivalry first collaborated with Launders in April 2023. 

Goodday milk searches for senior esports team
Image credit: Goodday

Goodday, a milk and dairy company from Malaysia, announced a contest to recruit senior citizens to become a part of its Counter-Strike 2 roster. The contest, titled Boomers 2 Gamers, aims to destigmatise esports among senior citizens, educate the general public on esports and help connect and bridge the gap between young and old players.

The contest started in February 2024, and will last for several months before ending in May 2024. Out of the initial applications, the organisers will choose 10 participants for entering the training sessions, and five of the best players will be able to continue competing as a CS2 roster in the future.

To apply for the contest, potential esports players need to be at least 50 years old, and eager to learn and experience esports. Other than that, no major requirements were announced. Former Malaysian CS:GO players Syazwan ‘wanr0’ Hanafie and Aiman ‘aimaNNN’ Azham will coach the new players.

GIANTX and MAGGI FUSIAN renew partnership
GIANTX and MAGGI FUSIAN renew partnership

Multinational esports organisation GIANTX extended and expanded its long-term partnership with MAGGI FUSIAN, a soup brand owned by Nestle. The extension will see MAGGI continue to collaborate with GIANTX on content, activations and social media exposure, while being an official sponsor of the organisation’s LEC and VCT teams.

MAGGI FUSIAN is an oriental noodle sub-brand of MAGGI, a company specialising in soups and other food products. MAGGI FUSIAN first partnered with Spanish esports organisation Giants Gaming in 2021, and the two companies have worked on a large number of activations, co-streams and branded content.

Although Giants Gaming merged with British esports organisation EXCEL ESPORTS in 2023, the partnership with MAGGI FUSIAN will continue to focus on the Spanish market, with GIANTX teams, creators, players and streamers from the region all included in the partnership.

LEC partners Uber Eats
Image credit: LEC

Game developer Riot Games announced food delivery service Uber Eats as a partner of the LEC, League of Legends’ EMEA franchised league. The deal will see Uber Eats branding be featured throughout the LEC broadcasts, specifically during countdowns and the competition’s ‘Match of the Week’.

According to a release, the delivery service will also be present on Summoner’s Rift, League of Legends’ in-game map, and the newly revamped Riot Games Arena. Other Uber Eats activations, such as in-person pop-ups and digital activations, have also been teased throughout the LEC season. 

Uber Eats becomes one of the LEC’s four main partners for the 2024 season, with the competition previously securing deals with KitKat, Kia, and LG UltraGear. Unlike its other partners, this is Uber Eats’ first commercial collaboration with the LEC. 

CECC Texas to take place in May with McDonald's as presenting sponsor
Image Credit: Collegiate Sports Management Group/McDonald’s

The Collegiate Sports Management Group (CSMG) announced that the Collegiate Esports Commissioner’s Cup (CECC) will return to Esports Stadium Arlington, Texas, with McDonald’s as the presenting sponsor.

The competition, which features 84 teams competing across four game titles (Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, Overwatch 2, Rocket League, and VALORANT), will see some of the best competitive talents in scholastic esports compete against each other.

CECC Texas will be held on May 3rd-5th, with official year-end tournaments for its circuit. Youth esports platform Vanta will also crown Texas middle and high school champions.

In 2023, the event welcomed more than 3,000 fans, with more than 400 athletes across North America. The event’s success didn’t go unnoticed, as CECC Texas 2023 was awarded LAN Event of the Year during the inaugural Scholars Awards in Las Vegas.

Esports Insider