18 Jan Esports in the World Around Us.
The Esports business is on the rise and something that esports needs to thrive is sponsors. It has been said for the past few years that esports will eventually become the new NFL or NBA, and to many Asian countries, it already is. To put it into perspective, the most watched Esports event in history was the 2018 League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational, with Riot Games reporting 60 million unique viewers. 60 MILLION! The 2015 NBA finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors had only 19.4 million viewers. Take that Steph and LeBron.
Probably the biggest company on this list is none other than Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola has become very invested in the League of Legends scene over the years and it has really paid off. Coca-Cola and Riot partnered in 2013 to make the “League of Legends Challenger Series”, which gave amateur players the opportunity to make their name known to LCS teams. Coke has also sponsored the various World Championships that Riot has hosted. This sponsorship included many different things, but the most innovative in my opinion was the various “watch parties” that Coke hosted across the United States. Talk about reaching out to the community.
Bjergsen is one of the greatest League of Legends players to ever touch a keyboard, ranking in the Top 10 of almost every Greatest Players list.
Speaking of popular beverage companies, Red Bull has also become a forerunner in the esports world. Red Bull has gone for the specific player sponso-rships as well as team sponsor-ships. The famous LoL Mid-laner, Søren ‘Bjergsen’ Bjerg, has signed a deal with Red Bull and is considered the best player in all of North America. Their sponsor-ships for players aren’t just for U.S. players either. Just take Abdulaziz Alsheri for example. He is an internationally known FIFA player and is from the Middle East, Saudi Arabia to be exact. And what about Ricardo ‘Fox’ Pacheco? His CS:GO career has earned him some pretty spectacular accolades, such as winning the Portuguese national championship for CS:GO.
Last, but most certainly not least, is the technology giant known as Intel. If you know anything about Esports, then you should know that Intel is probably the biggest sponsor of them all. Since 2006, Intel, alongside other various companies, has put on the Intel Masters Extreme tournament. This tournament has multiple different small qualifying events that lead up to the final major event that combines teams from North America, Europe, and Asia to compete against each other. Before the 2018 LoL Mid-Season Invitational that I mentioned earlier, the most watched Esports event was the 2017 Intel Masters Extreme Katowice with 47 million unique viewers. No one thought that record would be broken anytime soon, but it was only one year later. If there can be a 13 million viewer increase in just one year, who knows where esports will go?