Before eSports became a popular industry, gamers may have had a less-than-impressive reputation. The idea of competing and communicating through a headset and behind a screen was seen as nothing more than a basement hobby. Fast forward to 2017 and the eSports market is booming. Newzoo's 2017 Global Esports Market Report stated that the industry will make $696 million by the end of the year, and by 2020, total revenue will skyrocket to almost $1.5 billion.

Growth in popularity will intrigue brands

This year alone, teams and individual players can thank brands for spending $517 million, $266 million of which is allocated for sponsorships. According to Marketing Tech News, eSports is known as the fastest-growing sector in entertainment. That means revenue from branding and sponsorship is only going to increase as the market becomes more popular and widespread. Dustin Beck, vice president of eSports at Riot Games is certain that the popularity of the games will intrigue brands.

"Selling out stadiums shows how passionate players are about eSports," he told Fortune. "Fans from all over the globe will be tuning in to watch the best of the best LOL eSports team battle it out for the World Championship the same way soccer fans from across the globe came out to support their favorite teams during the World Cup. That level of passion and engagement translates to an opportunity for brands who are looking to communicate with this audience by bringing added value to their eSports experience."

eSports is such a captivating market for brands due to its fan base - just like traditional sports, there are a lot of people who watch eSports.

Who makes great sponsors?

eSports teams can reach out to sponsorship agencies, such as Sponsor OP. This company connects teams and individuals to the best sponsorship opportunities that will meet their needs and expectations. An agency can help eSports teams negotiate, sign and collect payments from such sponsors, and they also help to manage the relationship between the team and brand. So who makes a successful sponsor? Does it have to involve a brand that works within the video game industry?

The answer is no. Last year, PepsiCo Inc. and Esports OpTic Gaming partnered together and showed the world of competitive gaming just how much leverage eSports teams can have when they are sponsored by external industries. According to MCV News, PepsiCo Inc. announced a new product - Brisk Mate, a new iced tea flavor that became the title sponsor of OpTic Gaming. This move was beneficial for both parties. Brisk became the 22nd brand to break $1 billion annual revenue within the brand group, meaning OpTic Gaming, via the sponsorship, reached millions, if not billions, of consumers. As for PepsiCo, OpTic has over 1.2 million followers on Twitter and 1.2 million YouTube subscribers, according to eSports Group, meaning Brisk Mate will be seen among multiple channels and demographics.

Essentially, brands and eSports teams can both benefit from sponsorship deals. It's essential for teams and players to reach out to sponsorship agencies or do some digging themselves to find the right brands to work with.

For those who are interested in learning more about how brands and sponsorships impact eSports players and teams, reach out to one of the trusted attorneys at Scarinci Hollenbeck. Our experienced professionals can provide general information about the industry, plus guidance on contractual agreements, intellectual property, legal counseling and more. So if you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact us at 201-806-3364.