With huge audiences come huge sponsors. From A-list celebrities to companies that have been in business for the better part of a century, you’d be surprised to learn who’s investing what in the esports industry.
Remember when competitive gaming used to be just you and a friend sitting on a couch, trying to catch the other one screen cheating? None of us really thought we’d have an entire industry dedicated to that thrill, much less the audience and corporate backing that helped the esports industry take off and keep soaring.
It’s very well known that where there are people, there is tons of money to be made. World-renowned esports investors realized this and quickly jumped on the bandwagon before it was too late. These investors can be broken down into a few different categories.
Think about the big businesses that you can’t seem to escape from, from soft drinks to clothing lines. Coca-Cola has been the primary sponsor of League Of Legends since the game blew up on made its way into the competitive scene, even going as far as to create the eCOPA Coca-Cola FIFA championship back in 2018.
Mountain Dew jumped in right around the same time, and one could even debate they were already sponsored well-enough by gamers. We didn’t need to see their banners flashing on the screen when we were tripping over old code red bottles ever since the WOW craze. M.D has their hands on Rocket League, sponsors their own competitive leagues, and even gives amateur players a chance to prove themselves every year. God bless the dew.
Red-Bull couldn’t help themselves from jumping in and even decided to go as far as taking a more media-related stance by sharing articles and videos of major moments on the daily. No longer X-Games crazy, this company seems to know where the new waves of sports entertainment are coming from.
Last but not least, Disney has sunk its teeth into the scene as well. That’s right, the mouse has bought all broadcasting rights for Overwatch, meaning one thing: we have a boatload of new Disney princesses and princes to meet at Disney Land now. Bought out rights means that they can exclusively broadcast all Overwatch playoffs on a subsite stemmed from ESPN. Yes, they bought that too. This sorta gives them monopoly levels of control when it comes to anything about who gets to see what during the games.
Thanks to Steve Aoki, Imagine Dragons got really invested in the esports scene both financially and creatively. After stating their interest in becoming sponsors in the industry, they even wrote the song “Warriors” for the annual League Of Legends Championship back in 2014.
Mark Cuban decided that even though Shark Tank was a good way to kill the time, he couldn’t stay away from sports teams or sports betting. The multi-billionaire loves to gamble and even helped with the founding of Unikrn, giving him the ability to legally partake in sports-betting within the new industry.
Venture Capital Firms
These investors are focused primarily on start-ups that greatly affect the gaming industry as a whole. Companies like Tencent (Yes, that one) are partially responsible not only for the huge market of esports games but for media outlets in which fellow players and fans can watch. Platforms like Discord and Twitch are the offspring for many of these capital firms, and it’s hard to imagine what the gaming scene would look like without them.
Ever wanted to play for your favorite sports team? You now have a chance to do just that and not put your body in the gruesome physical state that the sports often demand. Famous football clubs in Europe have even signed on players to partake in the FIFA championships. Even the Lakers have signed people onto the team to help them create a name for themselves on the virtual side. Sports teams have realized that their fans don’t just love watching the games, they love actively taking part in them as well.
The esports Industry has too many investors from every area to name, but each group and individual who invests is taking an active hand in shaping it. Every celebrity from J-Lo to Logic is throwing money into the pot, and they are dwarved financially by companies like Disney and Intel. This means that the industry is only going to attract more public attention, which in turn means that esports will definitely be around to stay for the long run.