Key esports sponsorships and partnerships: June 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 June 2024.

June saw some interesting developements in the Esports World Cup, but also from FIFA, MOONTON, Ludwig, Manchester City and many other esports brands.

Interested in the narratives behind the news? Subscribe to The Dotted Line newsletter for a curated monthly roundup & analysis of the most important partnership stories — and the trends that lie behind them.

Spotlighted story:

FIFAe Football Manager World Cup
Image credit: FIFAe/Sports Interactive

FIFAe, the esports branch of football governing body FIFA, has partnered with British game developer Sports Interactive to launch the FIFAe World Cup of Football Manager.

The inaugural edition, taking place between August 29th and September 1st, features a $100,000 prize pool.

For Football Manager’s first FIFAe World Cup, selected member associations will be invited to be represented at the final event. These invitations will be based on eligibility and number of players per nation. Interested players can visit FIFAe’s website for more information on their region’s qualification process.

FIFAe World Cup featuring Rocket League
Image credit: FIFA

Global football governing body FIFA has announced that the FIFAe World Cup will make its return, with national teams now competing in the vehicle football game Rocket League. The new tournament will be the official FIFA esport tournament for the foreseeable future.

The significance of this tournament lies in the fact that the main governing body for worldwide football will no longer have an official tournament in a football game. Instead, it will have a tournament in a game that is loosely based on football. 

Since 2023, FIFA no longer has an official game to its name, with Electronic Arts moving away with the EA FC series. The 2023 FIFAe World Cup was the last one to feature the FIFA game series.

esports world cup
The Esports World Cup trophy. Image credit: Esports World Cup Foundation

The Esports World Cup, a large-scale esports tournament organised by the Esports World Cup Foundation, has announced the addition of two new games: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and Call of Duty Warzone.

The two final additions to the EWC take its number of games to 21. The Warzone tournament will feature a $1m (~£780,000 ) prize pool and the MW3 tournament will have a $1.8m (~£1.40m ) pool.

According to the Esports World Cup’s organisers, the two Call of Duty games are the final additions to the event, with the number of competitions coming to 22. The competition will include almost every notable esports game today, ranging from Dota 2 and League of Legends to Counter-Strike, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Apex Legends, Fortnite, PUBG, Rocket League and more.

Honor of Kings character with wings next to gold partnership program text on pale yellow background
Image credit: Honor of Kings, Level Infinite

Level Infinite, the publisher of mobile MOBA Honor of Kings, has unveiled a new esports partnership programme. The programme aims to support the title’s growing global ecosystem and expand its outreach with the support of esports organisations.

To kick off Honor of Kings’ partnership programme, Level Infinite has announced five teams participating in the programme will receive direct invitations to compete in Season 2 of the Honor of Kings Invitational. Southeast Asia’s REX REGUM QEON, South America’s ISURUS and Turkey’s FUT Esports have been confirmed with the final two teams being announced on June 11th and 12th respectively.

Ludwig's offbrand and Pirate Software launch offbrand games
Image credit: Offbrand Games

Offbrand, a creative studio and digital company co-created by streamer Ludwig Ahgren and Mogul Moves President Nick Allen, has expanded into game publishing.

Called Offbrand Games, the new publisher is a joint venture between Offbrand and Jason ‘Thor’ Hall, known as the creator of independent games studio Pirate Software.
Offbrand was launched in late 2022 as a creative venture that helped brands connect with creators through content. The company is now expanding into game publishing with a strong focus on indie games and studios. During a live stream held at IGN Live, Ahgren and Hall noted that indie studios are often let down by publishers, which is something the new brand aims to fix.

Image of Adidas and Esports World Cup logos above branded clothes on white background
Image credit: Esports World Cup, Adidas

The Esports World Cup, a Saudi Arabian multi-title esports event organised by the Esports World Cup Foundation, has announced a partnership with German sportswear brand Adidas.

As a result, the brand will become the official merchandise sponsor of the event and provide players with an exclusive line of clothing. In addition to providing players with apparel, event staff will also receive co-branded shirts for the event taking place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from July 4th until August 25th 2024. According to a release, the partnership will assist tournament participants by ‘supporting their pursuit of victory.’

ESIC and International Olympic Committee
Image credit: ESIC

The Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have announced a letter of collaboration to exchange information and best practices to combat corruption and other misconduct in esports. 

The ESIC will act as function as a specialist advisory body to the IOC and OM Unit PMC (Olympic Movement Unit for the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions) to provide guidance on esports-related matters.

Founded in 2016, ESIC is a non-profit organisation that focuses on dealing with integrity concerns in the esports industry. Notably, this includes prosecuting integrity breaches such as match-fixing. Last month, a new board with ESL and BLAST executives was established to bolster ethical practices through frameworks, benchmarks and insights to address issues such as cheating.

On the other side, the IOC has increasingly invested its resources in the esports space. Last year, it created a new official commission focused on esports, including notable stakeholders from G2 EsportsUbisoft and Konami.

Manchester City Esports unveil gaming facility
Image Credit: Manchester City

Man City Esports, the esports division of Manchester City Football Club, has unveiled its new gaming facility at the Etihad Stadium.

According to a release, the new studio will be used by Man City Esports’ FC 24 and Fortnite players to practice, compete and create content. Gaming chair brand Herman Miller has equipped the facility with its products, using the brand’s Embody Gaming Chairs.

Manchester City also collaborated with Korean esports organisation Gen.G to create unique experiences and engagement opportunities for fans. This included events that took place in both South Korea and the UK, as well as launching limited-edition, co-branded merchandise.

Esports World Cup Pepsi
Image credits: Esports World Cup / Pepsi

The Esports World Cup, a multi-title esports event organised by the Esports World Cup Foundation, has partnered with global beverage conglomerate Pepsi.

Pepsi has agreed to become a strategic partner for the Esports World Cup in a multi-year deal. The deal will see Pepsi provide fans with activations and activities at the Esports World Cup. This includes the Rockstar Bar which will have a karaoke area features a selection of drinks on offer for fans. In addition, Pepsi has become the naming partner for the Falcons venue, now called Falcons HQ by Pepsi

Qiddiya x Moonton
Image credit: Qiddiya / Moonton

Game developer MOONTON Games, the creator of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB), has expanded its partnership with Saudi Arabian entertainment and tourism megaproject Qiddiya.

According to a release, the two parties will aim to grow MLBB’s esports ecosystem and provide ‘elevated experiences’ during tournaments.

To commence the partnership, Qiddiya will host online and offline activations during MOONTON’s M6 World Championship taking place in Malaysia. In addition to the activations, the megaproject has become the global presenting partner of the event and will sponsor broadcast segments as well as the Legends Award which commemorates standout performances from players.

Alongside hosting activations, MOONTON and Qiddiya will provide the MLBB esports circuit with ‘multi-level support’ to assist the esport’s growth across several territories around the world.

VCT 2025
Image credit: Riot Games

Game developer Riot Games has announced changes to its VALORANT Champions Tour Challengers and Ascension promotion system for the 2025 season. 

From 2025 promoted Challenger teams will have the chance to extend their tier-one status and will no longer face automatic relegation.

Per a release by Riot Games, incoming changes will mean that Ascension teams — those competing as non-Riot-partnered sides in one of the game’s four international regions — can remain in tier-one leagues indefinitely, provided they fulfil certain performance-based criteria.

In addition, the current fixed two-year term length for Ascension teams will be scrapped. Instead, promoted teams are given a one-year term that can then be increased. Qualifying for VCT Champions will grant an Ascension team an additional year. This could differ if both Ascension teams from a single league qualify. In such a case, the better-performing of the two at Champions will earn the automatic extension.

Gen.G Mobil 1
Image credit: Gen.G

Multinational esports organisation Gen.G has extended its partnership with synthetic motor oil brand Mobil 1 for the 2025 Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) season. 

According to a release, the new deal will also come with new and limited-edition merchandise, content and streaming opportunities. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

The partnership was extended following a successful first campaignGen.G Mobil 1 Racing won the Tempest Awards’ Esports Team of the Year in 2023 and achieved strong results from its female division, Gen.G Mobil 1 Racing Black. This included winning GIRLGAMER Esports Festival 2023: Atlanta.

SK Gaming form partnership with Sony
Image Credit: SK Gaming

German esports organisation SK Gaming has announced a new partnership with electronics company Sony.

The deal will see Sony equip SK Gaming’s new headquarters in Cologne, Germany with BRAVIA and LED TV displays.

The new headquarters officially opened on May 28th and is a 2,000-square-metre facility that comes with an expo area, event and presentation space, production and training rooms, meeting rooms and office space.

On top of the BRAVIA displays, an LED wall has been set up with professional projectors and camera technology, as well as remote-controlled cameras that will support SK Gaming when it comes to producing video and live content. According to a release, SK Gaming and Sony are looking to bring a ‘professional visualisation of virtual worlds’. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

MPL MENA partners with the Saudi Esports Federation
Image credit: MPL MENA / Saudi Esports

Moonton Games, the creator of mobile MOBA Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB), has announced that its official league in the MENA region, MPL MENA, has partnered with the Saudi Esports Federation (SEF).

As a part of this agreement, the SEF will sponsor player travel and visas for the MPL MENA Season 5 Playoffs, set to take place at VOV Gaming venue at ROSHN Front, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia between June 13th and 15th.

The MPL MENA is the official Mobile Legends: Bang Bang league in the Middle East and North African region, now in its fifth season. The league underwent a series of changes, including a shift to a seasonal format instead of two splits per year to allow its winners to compete in the Mid-Season Cup set to take place at the Esports World Cup later this year. 

Interestingly, MPL MENA has two direct slots for the MSC, despite being one of the smaller leagues in terms of viewership.

Image of LEC and Marriot Bonvoy logos on dark purple background with League of Legends champions on left and right
Image credit: Riot Games, Marriot Bonvoy

The LEC (League of Legends EMEA Championship) has announced a partnership with international hotel chain Marriott Bonvoy.

As a result of the deal, the chain will become the Official Hotel Partner of the 2024 LEC Finals Roadshow taking place in Munich, Germany.

As part of the collaboration, LEC fans that enrol in Marriott Bonvoy’s loyalty programme before August 30th 2024 will receive an exclusive digital collectable chest and key which allows fans to unlock in-game items. In addition, fans attending the LEC Finals in Munich can purchase an exclusive hotel package that includes exclusive merchandise.

Ivan Šimić
Ivan comes from Croatia, loves weird simulator games, and is terrible at playing anything else. Spent 5 years writing about tech and esports in Croatia, and is now doing it here.