Esports Betting Operator Betway Becomes The Lead Sponsor For Ninjas In Pyjamas

Written By Joss Wood on September 30, 2016 - Last Updated on January 22, 2018

[toc]Esports betting moves further into the limelight as top esports bookmaker Betway agrees a deal to be the headline sponsor of legendary esports team Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP).

NiP team members will now pose for press photographs in Betway-branded gear. Betway also gets “content usage rights, onsite branding at the NiP gaming house and full player access” for its “high six-figure deal.”

Betway’s Anthony Werkman said:

“As sponsors of West Ham United of the Premier League in England, we constantly engage with supporters to give them insight into the club they wouldn’t get anywhere else.

It’s with these ideals, values and mission in mind that we partnered with NiP. They have a huge fan base all over the world and we are tremendously excited to provide exclusive, behind the scenes content on a regular basis as we follow the team’s quest to be the best.”

Esports betting market large enough to make sponsorships cost effective

Over the last five years, esports betting has become a significant market segment for online gambling operators.

Pinnacle took its first esports bet in 2010, and over the following four years saw total wagers double every year. It took its millionth esports bet in December 2014. Since then the esports betting market has only moved faster.

Research by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming expects total real money esports betting handle to reach over $12 billion a year by 2020. That base case scenario could move even higher if the sudden expansion of televised esports produces a much larger audience than expected.

The numbers are large today, but esports betting revenues have the potential to grow to staggering numbers if the market fulfills its potential. It is this trajectory that now makes it cost effective for esports betting operators to pay for esports team sponsorships.

One recent sponsorship was announced in June, as German operator TipBet struck a deal with Greek team Ad Finem.

[geoip2 region=’ROW’][show-table name=betway][/geoip2]

Sponsorships work despite restrictions on gambling advertising

Many gambling jurisdictions have online advertising restrictions. In the UK for example, advertisers may not use images of any celebrity who is or appears to be under 25.

Furthermore, esports tournament rules restrict branding from gambling operators. The rulebook for the ESL One competitions states:

2.14 Betting or gambling
No players, team managers, staff or management of attending organizations may be involved in betting or gambling, associate with bettors or gamblers, or provide anyone any information that may assist betting or gambling, either directly or indirectly, for any of the ESL One matches or the tournament in general. Any betting or gambling against your own organizations matches will lead to an immediate disqualification of the organization and a minimal ban of 1 year from all ESL competitions for all persons involved. Any other violation will be penalized at the sole discretion of the tournament direction.

Sports betting operators in regulated jurisdictions are accustomed to comply with such restrictions and sponsorship of traditional sports teams is common. Betway itself sponsors UK soccer team West Ham United.

Nevertheless, as the esports industry evolves, common rules across all tournaments would give esports betting operators more security in knowing what is and is not permissible during the life of a sponsorship deal. Without such confidence, multi-year sponsorship deals are much more risky.

For NiP, the deal provides a very desirable extra income stream, and a sponsor motivated to work with the team to increase fan engagement and produce high quality online content.

CEO of NiP, Hicham Chahine, commented:

“We are thrilled with the opportunity to work closely with the leading eSports betting company and are certain the partnership will allow us to continue to grow our legacy to give our millions of fans around the world unforgettable experiences they will remember for a lifetime.”

Joss Wood Avatar
Written by
Joss Wood

Joss Wood holds an English degree from the University of Birmingham and also earned a master’s degree in organizational development from the University of Manchester. Joss has a special focus on the international online gambling market, though he also writes extensively on US regulated markets, sports betting, and esports betting.

View all posts by Joss Wood