Betting shops and online casinos provide an important springboard for e-sports as sponsors

Virtual football? Tactical games and survival battles? E-sports is growing in terms of variety - and interest in the games, with around 12 per cent of people in Germany now watching an e-sports game at least once a week. Around 29 per cent are familiar with the term.

The largest group of viewers and gamers are 16 to 24-year-olds who have grown up with games such as FIFA (since the end of 2023, the simulation has been called EA FC because the contract with FIFA has expired), League of Legends, Fortnite, Dota 2 and the other major e-sports games.

This is precisely the age group that is difficult to reach with conventional sports advertising. For companies, this means enormous potential as sponsors, but the product must also match the sponsored tournament or team cup and innovation is also required.

Thanks to the range of games and global interest, this is easier than in most conventional sports ( Betting shops and online casinos are an important sponsor, offering much more than just online slots. betting on the virtual national leagues is now just as common as betting on the increasing number of world championships in the various e-sports. Sponsoring successful teams such as NaVi and Team Vitaly, as well as events and tournaments, is therefore a logical investment that pays off for both sides.

The number one sponsor is computer processor giant Intel, which enables e-sports to reach new heights as a tournament and league sponsor. Over the past decade, the company has channelled considerable sums into a number of the major CS:GO tournaments. The game focuses on the Intel Extreme Master series, but Overwatch also has an Intel League, with the company ensuring that gamers stay ahead of the game with the best possible chips as a CPU sponsor. Riot Games and others also benefit from Intel's support. The company has been an ESL partner since 2000.

A pioneer in e-sports sponsorship is the energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, which has been using money and platforms to give wings to virtual sports as well as traditional sports since the very beginning. Among other things, Red Bull is financially involved in a number of events in Dota 2 and StarCraft 2 and also sponsors successful teams such as G2 and OG.

Own e-sports events such as Red Bull SoloQ and Red Bull Wololo as well as features in the games such as the Red Bull Power Play in League of Legends testify to the company's strong ties and advertising impact when it comes to e-sports.

Other beverage manufacturers have also discovered e-sports as a promising advertising platform. Coca-Cola is involved as a sponsor with David Beckham's e-sports team Guild, among others, but also invests in the Overwatch League, Riot Games, paiN Gaming and more. PepsiCo, on the other hand, was the main sponsor of the Gamers8 event in Saudi Arabia in 2023, where one of the largest prize pools in the history of e-sports was at stake.

Super-fast, stable internet is the foundation for e-sports. In this respect, it is no wonder that the American cable network operator ComcastXfinity is a strong sponsor of e-sports in the USA.

Even Disney has now recognised the increasing importance of e-sports as an advertising platform. Although Disney's animated films are very different from the video games played as e-sports, the film giant has collaborated with the FaZe Clan to bring out a range of merchandise featuring the Disney mascot in FaZe Clan style.Even if most e-sports fans are currently a little too old to form the typical target group, new gamers and gaming fans are growing up all the time.

In 2021 alone, around 389.5 million people worldwide watched e-sports events. According to forecasts, this figure is set to rise to640 million viewers by 2025. Platforms such as Twitch and YouTube in particular are recording strong growth.

Wettbürosund Online-Casinos geben als Sponsoren dem E-Sport ein wichtigesSprungbrett 1

The undisputed leader among mega events is Dota 2. TheInternational World Championship has been held for around a decade, with the prize pot increasing significantly each time. In 2021, it was already worth more than40 million US dollars.

Just like the individual e-sports games, the most successful teams also have a large fan base. The most successful German e-sports player is Kuro "KuroKy" Salehi Takhasomi, who has won various titles with his Dota 2 team and collected more than 5 million US dollars as his share. Other German stars in Dota 2 are Adrian "FATA" Drinks and Maximilian "qojqva" Bröckner.

The first German FIFA World Champion and German champion in the virtual Bundesliga in the same year was Mohammed "MoAuba" Harkous.

While the best gamers are becoming millionaires in Dota 2 and League of Legends in particular, the e-sports industry as a whole is on the rise, with global sales totalling around USD 1.72 billion last year. In Germany, it is estimated to be around 277.7 million euros in 2024, with the largest share expected to come from sports betting at just under 180 million euros.

Sponsors make success in e-sports possible. This is a win-win situation for all sides.