Key esports sponsorships and partnerships: May 2024

esports sponsorships partnerships roundup may

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 May 2024.

May saw several high-profile mainstream companies strike esports sponsorships. Most notably, this included HSBC, Porsche, Land Rover, Revolut, Cisco and other major international brands.

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Spotlighted story:

30 esports organisations join the Esports World Cup Club Support Program
30 esports organisations join the Esports World Cup Club Support Program

30 organisations from across the globe joined the Esports World Cup Foundation Club Support Program, a project that provides financial capital to teams ahead of the Esports World Cup.

The list of esports organisations attending the controversial Saudi Arabian tournament includes many of the biggest organisations in the industry, such as FaZe Clan, NAVI, NIP, G2 Esports, Fnatic and TSM, among others. The companies will receive ‘six figure’ annual payments tied to their promotion of the event and their expansion into new esports titles.

Organisations in the programme are to use the money to improve infrastructure, enter new esports titles, and create content. EWC Club Support Program members will be eligible for more financial rewards if the organisations “drive viewership and fan engagement to the EWC,” according to a release.

GIANTX renews HSBC partnership
GIANTX renews HSBC partnership

Multinational esports organisation GIANTX extended its existing partnership with UK-based bank HSBC UK. The partnership will see the two brands continue working on activations and projects that aim to educate younger audiences about the importance of financial responsibility.

HSBC UK first partnered with EXCEL Esports in March 2023 and has acted as the company’s official financial services partner ever since. The renewed partnership is with GIANTX due to the merger between EXCEL Esports and Spanish esports organisation Giants Gaming that happened late last year.

The partners announced that the goals for the upcoming year are to work with GIANTX’s roster of esports players and content creators to support gaming and esports communities in building ‘better financial knowledge and leading financially healthier lives’. No details about upcoming activations and projects were shared.

Overwatch Championship Series x Porsche
Overwatch Championship Series x Porsche

Esports tournament organiser ESL FACEIT Group announced a partnership with car manufacturer Porsche for the upcoming Overwatch Championship Series Major at Dreamhack Dallas. The collaboration will see the German manufacturer showcase its electric Macan model and present the MVP award during the Major final.

The tournament will be Overwatch’s very first major after ESL FACEIT’s take over of the game’s circuit following last year’s closure of the Activision Blizzard-organised Overwatch League. The Major will run from May 31st to June 2nd and will be held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Texas, USA during Dreamhack Dallas.

Per a press release, the collaboration will be Porsche’s first major partnership with an esports tournament organiser. As well as presenting the MVP and showcasing its Macan model, the company will also offer fans at the event a chance to get `exclusive access to custom content linked to Porsche’s new all-electric Macan model.’

JDG sign partnership with Land Rover
Image Credit: JDG Weibo

Chinese esports organisation JingDong Gaming (JDG) signed a partnership with British automobile manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover.

The partnership was announced on social media platform Weibo through a commercial post featuring Range Rover’s SUV vehicle Defender. Jaguar Land Rover has become the exclusive automobile partner of the esports team. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Few other details about the partnership were avaiable. JDG is the esports branch of the Chinese company Jing Dong, one of the country’s biggest e-commerce platforms. The holding group, Inc., also owns several other branches, which include JD Health, JD Technology and JD Pharmacy, among others.

League of Legends World Championship 2023 Finals
League of Legends World Championship 2023 Finals. Image credit: Liu YiCun/Riot Games, via Flickr

Game developer Riot Games expanded its League of Legends-focused partnership with technology conglomerate Cisco. The deal will see Cisco leverage its solutions to further improve connectivity for League of Legends esports.

On top of being Riot Games’ official enterprise networking partner for League of Legends’ global esports events, Cisco has also been named the official security partner of LoL Esports. Riot Games first secured a multi-year deal with Cisco in 2020.

The two companies will also collaborate to create new opportunities for rising technology professionals by supporting programmes such as Cisco’s Networking Academy. With the newly expanded partnership, Riot Games will also be able to utilise Cisco’s ThousandEyes solution to identify and troubleshoot problem areas. Cisco Duo’s identity security solution will protect Rio Games’ League of Legends events from identity-based threats to prevent issues and potential real-time outages.

BLAST Spring Finals Revolut sponsorship
Image credit: BLAST / Revolut

Financial technology company Revolut partnered with esports tournament organiser BLAST for the upcoming BLAST Premier Spring Final, set to take place this June in London, England.

Revolut will be named the presenting sponsor of the event, with in-person and online activations planned for the duration of the Finals. The partnership with BLAST is the first esports partnership for the fintech company.

As the event’s Official Finance and Payments Partner, Revolut will be featured on broadcasts and host dedicated segments, such as an economy-focused broadcast activation. In addition, visitors of the OVO Arena in London will be able to interact with Revolut’s in-person activations. Revolut and BLAST announced giveaways and on-site discounts for Revolut services, as well as benefits for Revolut users during the event. This includes the ability to skip queues for meet and greets with CS2 players.

9INE partners with betting company LEON.BET
9INE partners with betting company LEON.BET

Swedish esports organisation 9INE announced a partnership with online casino and sportsbook LEON.BET. The deal will see LEON.BET become 9INE’s official online betting partner. The two partners will work on content and integrate 9INE into the betting company’s platform.

LEON.BET operates under a Curacao license and has been in the betting business since 2008. The company supports bets on a large number of esports titles, including VALORANT, CS2, Dota 2, Rainbow Six, FreeFire and League of Legends. The new partnership is the first time that the company is cooperating directly with an esports organisation.

The two companies noted that they will aim to ‘integrate 9INE’s competitive expertise’ with LEON.BET’s betting platform. This partnership also looks to bring new betting opportunities to users and the two companies also plan on creating behind-the-scenes content to further engage fans.

ESL FACEIT Group x Rolling Stone
Image credit: ESL FACEIT Group

Entertainment news publication Rolling Stone launched a new gaming vertical, in partnership with esports conglomerate ESL FACEIT Group. Rolling Stone Gaming will be led by Senior Gaming Editor Christopher Cruz, previously an Executive Producer of the publication’s Content Studio.

According to a release, the new vertical aims to spotlight ‘all aspects of gaming’ by producing ‘in-depth reporting, hands-on experiences and profiles’. ESL FACEIT Group’s exact influence on Rolling Stone Gaming’s coverage has not been disclosed however the company has been described as the vertical’s ‘content partner’.

The news is likely to raise conflict of interest concerns given ESL FACEIT Group’s vast control over the tournament organiser space in esports. Under the ESL FACEIT Group’s various brands, the company currently operates notable esports leagues in Counter-Strike, Dota 2, Overwatch, StarCraft, sim racing and the mobile esports scene, amongst others.

Image of Disguised and Chipotle logos and Tekken 8 player PhiDX
Image credit: Disguised

Disguised, an esports organisation created by streamer Jeremy ‘Disguised Toast’ Wang, partnered with international food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill. As a result of the deal, the organisation will expand into Tekken 8 with the chain being named as the roster’s founding partner.

Announced on May 9th, 2024, the organisation’s founder appeared in a video revealing North American Tekken 8 player Phi ‘PhiDX’ Lam as its first player. Lam will represent the organisation at the 2024 edition of the Evolution Championship Series (EVO) taking place from May 19th to 21st.

The partnership between Disguised and Chipotle marks the organisation’s debut into the FGC scene. Alongside Tekken, it also fields teams in League of Legends, Apex Legends and VALORANT. In January 2024, the organisation partnered with BLEED Esports to create a VALORANT roster to compete in the Southeast Asian region.

New live-streaming platform SOOP partners with DRX and Faker
Image credit: SOOP

SOOP, a new live-streaming platform set to launch globally on June 5th, partnered with League of Legends veteran Lee ‘Faker’ Sang-hyeok, esports organisation DRX and others in the esports space. According to the announcement, SOOP has teamed up with various personalities, game publishers, tournament organisers and industry leaders in esports and gaming to offer content on release.

With several partnerships, SOOP aims to elevate its content portfolio. Faker and DRX members, including Byung-chul ‘BuZz’ Yu, three-time EVO Tekken champion Bae’ Knee’ Jae-Min, former Overwatch champion Kim’ EscA’ In-ja and gaming streamer ACAU AKA ‘Crocodile’, will create content on SOOP as well as AfreecaTV for Korean fans.

Similarly, Thai streamers such as EDWIN, SuperBusS and FifaTargrean, will stream exclusively on the emerging platform. SOOP has also partnered with Riot Games to exclusively produce and broadcast VALORANT Challengers Thailand. The platform has further secured the publishing and broadcasting rights in Thailand for tournaments, including the VALORANT Champions Tour. Finally, SOOP users will be able to consume a variety of content across music, gaming and esports, including the AfreecaTV Global StarCraft II League (GSL).

Described as a platform ‘tailor-made for esports and gaming fans’, SOOP will launch its global beta in English, Thai and Chinese with a webpage and mobile versions for Android and Apple. The global streaming site is part of AfreecaTV, which is reportedly rebranding to SOOP in June.

Adidas Originals and 100 Thieves launch merchandise collection
Adidas Originals and 100 Thieves launch merchandise collection

German sportswear brand Adidas, through its heritage and retro-inspired sub-brand Adidas Originals, announced a merchandise collaboration with North American esports organisation 100 Thieves. As part of an ongoing partnership between both brands, the first-ever Adidas and 100 Thieves collection includes a variety of merchandise items, including jerseys, tracksuits, socks, pants and towels.

Adidas and 100 Thieves first partnered earlier this year and worked together to create the official 100 Thieves esports jersey. The two brands have now announced a larger collaboration focused on a variety of clothing items that will be available on May 31st online and in select stores.

The merchandise collection includes the previously announced jersey, a 100 Thieves and Adidas-designed tracksuit, a T-shirt, socks, and a towel. In addition, Adidas worked with Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag, the founder of 100 Thieves, on a custom version of the Adidas Rivalry sneakers. The sneakers feature both Nadeshot’s and Adidas’ logos and will be available in off-white.

Juventus x Optic Gaming
Image credit: Juventus / OpTic Gaming

North American esports organisation OpTic and Italian Serie A football club Juventus launched a joint capsule collection. This clothing collection is part of an ongoing partnership between OpTic and Juventus which was announced in April.

According to a press release, the limited edition capsule aims to break the ‘boundaries between offline and online sports’. The two companies have brought in Adidas to support the creation of the collection which will consist of T-shirts, sweatshirts and accessories with prints ‘linked to the gaming universe and the identity of Juventus’.

Alongside the merchandise, the partnership has included social media and video content, with various OpTic creators, such as former Call of Duty player Seth ‘Scump‘ Abner, attending a Juventus match in Italy earlier this year.

Inter to launch tournament with Mkers
Image Credit: Inter Milan, Mkers

Italian football team Inter Milan partnered with esports organisation Mkers to launch the club’s first-ever Fortnite tournament.

The tournament is part of Inter Milan’s new Gaming League, a series of tournaments based around non-football titles. The aim of the series is to engage with the younger generations and allow the club’s fans and gamers to participate in competitive events.

Participants of the Fortnite tournament will have a chance to win exclusive prizes, including two tickets for Inter Milan vs Lazio. Registrations are currently open and will last for one week. The tournament’s format has not been revealed. Details such as what other games will be utilised for the Gaming League have not been disclosed.

This is not the first time Mkers and Inter have teamed up together. In late 2022, the two companies joined forces to launch an eFootball roster after Inter announced a multi-year partnership with publisher KONAMI.

Nongshim sponsors LoL Prime League
Nongshim sponsors LoL Prime League

Korean instant noodle brand Nongshim was announced as the official partner for Die Techniker Prime League, the official League of Legends league for the DACH region.

As the league’s main partner, the noodle brand will work with the league’s organiser Freaks 4U Gaming on activations. Plans detailing the activations were not disclosed.

The partnership with Freaks 4U Gaming marks the South Korean brand’s entry into the DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) market. Freaks 4U Gaming’s Chief Revenue Officer, Andreas Meister, noted that Nongshim’s extensive esports experience will surely help to lift the Prime League, one of the main regional leagues in Europe.

AESF and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region announce partnership
AESF and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region announce partnership

The Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) partnered with the Big Data Development Bureau of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region located in Nanning, China, to host a large-scale esports event. The event, called the ASEAN-China Esports Competition will gather national teams from several countries in Asia to compete in various esports tournaments.

Although not much is known about the scale of the tournament, the two parties noted that it is planned to take place sometime in the near future. The two partners will collaborate on all aspects of the tournament, including game title licensing, venue selection, planning and organisation, team invitations and other segments.

AESF will aim to provide its expertise and esports knowledge for the project. Meanwhile, the Big Data Development Bureau will work with local entities and help facilitate everything needed for the event to take place.

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