Esports and the video game world has attracted many global brands, LV, Balenciaga, Gucci to name a few luxury brands, and then Puma, Movistar, Coca cola and even more. Brands have recognized the power of the gaming communities across the globe and they are making new generations their main target audience group that can easily become advocates for them.
Working with streamers
Working with content creators, streamers is a challenging, full time work. In order to successfully plan and execute the sponsorship deal with top streamers you need to have a good understanding of the gaming industry. Streamers do not work with every brand. They pick the ones they feel they can rezonate with their audience well. Authenticity is the key to success in building the community as well as keeping good long term relationships. Streamers do really care about the brands that take care about things that are important to new generations, such as: environment, equality, and high quality products.
Athletic Apparel Brands Quicken Pace of Esports Partners
Nike, Adidas and PUMA have battled for years in traditional sports fields. They compete for individual athletes, teams and league deals. Over the last two years, that battle has started to work its way into esports.
Prior to 2021, PUMA signed deals with GenG and Cloud9. Nike focused on Asia by signing T1 Sports & Entertainment, SK Gaming and the League of Legends Pro League. Adidas has been focused on Europe working with Team Vitality, North, Lyon and Team Heretics.
On January 14th, Adidas signed G2, one of the biggest esports orgs in Europe. This year is going to mark a much quicker pace when it comes to working with esports organizations. The race is on.
Nike has the only league by working with the LPL. By the end of 2021, I’ll wager that at least two more leagues are signed by one of the big three brands. In addition, at least another five esports organizations are signed as well. Adidas also has worked with Ninja, more streamers are going to be picked up as well considering the inherent value they drive with their audiences.
Clearly all three brands see the value in esports. That inherent competition is going to quicken the pace considerably. In addition, I’ll bet we see more collaborations. 100 Thieves and FaZe Clan are both turning into streetwear brands in their own rights, working with a massive brand like Nike, Adidas or PUMA helps cement them in those communities. FaZe Clan has already worked with Champion on a collaboration and they work directly with athletes already signed to the big three apparel companies. A collaboration isn’t a question of if, but of when.
But the real way for one of these companies to take a big lead in the race? Acquire a company like We Are Nations (17 esports organizations signed up) or Raven (5 esports organizations and the Call of Duty League). 2021 might be too quick to see a major acquisition but keep your eye on that opportunity for these major brands. Nike did something similar in the extreme sports era of the early 2000’s when they acquired Hurley and Converse.
More Streamers Go Independent, Relying on Maturing Sponsorship Deals
This trend has already started to take place. In the past, only a few major streamers operated independently of esports organizations. Many are still signed on to various rosters.
We saw this firsthand when Fortnite took off and Tfue became one of the biggest names in gaming. Shortly after he found success he filed a lawsuit against FaZe Clan, trying to push his way out of the leading organization. That lawsuit was settled out of court and we still don’t know the specifics but the balance of power is shifting.
Individual streamers are commanding bigger audiences than brand names. Luminosity is a great example, formerly the home of Ninja, the star streamer went off to forge his own path. Now XQC leads a large roster of content creators and his brand is also outpacing Luminosity.
In the past, streamers relied on esports organizations to bring together a large number of content creators and find brand deals that targeted the entire roster. With the growth of streaming platforms, and brands understanding of how to work with them, suddenly deals are becoming more plentiful.
Mindfuture Gaming is helping make that process easier for both brands and streamers. While esports organizations still carry weight, many streamers are finding plenty of success going solo. They are free to pursue their own deals, play their own games and not share those profits with a larger organization.
In the beginning of 2022, we will see a lot of content creators’ contracts end and not be renewed. For brands, they should pay attention to when streamers leave contracts and could be open to new deals. Instead of an esports organization with its own agenda, Mindfuture will help be that glue between brand and content creator that creates powerful partnerships in the long term vision.