[toc]At the end of last week, Twitch announced that it was creating a partnership with Cloud9 And Team SoloMid (TSM) where it will act as the team’s “official sponsor sales representative.”
Twitch aims to bring more non-endemic brands into esports both to grow its own business and the revenues of its partner teams. TSM and Cloud9 have agreed to stream exclusively on Twitch.
The Twitch statement explained the pitch they will be making to marketing executives:
“These brands will have one-stop access to Twitch’s audience of nearly 10 million daily viewers and TSM and Cloud9’s global fan bases, ensuring unified, authentic engagement with the growing eSports audience.”
Twitch COO Kevin Lin said:
“Our partnership with TSM and Cloud9 is long-standing and has helped pro players thrive in a growing live media ecosystem. This expanded partnership will also improve the overall health of the esports industry by providing more opportunities for players through long-term support in a more sustainable ecosystem.”
Cloud 9 and TSM have both partnered with Twitch on other initiatives in the last few years, so the new relationship is a deepening of the existing relationship rather than something completely new.
Outsourcing marketing relationships
The deal Twitch has struck stands out because it exploits the close relationship between esports teams and the way they reach their fan base. The growth of Twitch and esports has gone hand in hand, and marks a distinction between esports and traditional sports.
Traditional sports have their huge stadiums and TV broadcasting deals, whereas the esports audience has been built by live streaming.
Twitch stepping up to offer a itself as an outsourced service provider for brand sponsorship opens up a new kind of marketing relationship that isn’t available to traditional sports—yet suits esports perfectly.
Twitch Vice President and Commercial Director for eSports Kristen Salvatore told [a]listdaily:
“ESports is part of Twitch’s DNA—we’re deeply invested in the success and growth of the eSports ecosystem. Putting more money into players’ pockets is a core focus of our eSports strategy, and leveraging our sponsorship sales expertise on behalf of teams is a benefit we’re glad to provide.”
“Twitch’s sizable, well-developed global sales team can leverage our scale, brand recognition, and experience to do the sponsorship sales heavy lifting, so TSM and C9 can focus on what they do best: winning.”
Teams have already made inroads into non-endemic brands
TSM has already attracted sponsorship from Geico, a car insurance company, and RedBull, which also sponsors Cloud9. However, the partners that each team lists on its website is heavily focused on endemic brands, IT hardware, and software directly related to esports.
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The esports industry is reaching the developmental stage where the global brands are becoming interested.
At the end of October, Coca-Cola sponsored the 2016 League of Legends ‘Worlds’ at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The company also established relationships with over 300 cinemas in the US, Canada, and Europe so that fans unable to attend the final could watch the excitement via live stream.
“This will be the next best thing to being there in person,” said Alban Dechelotte, senior manager of entertainment marketing for Coca-Cola. “We’re creating a stadium-like atmosphere where you can watch the action on a big screen.”
As the world’s top consumer brand, Coca-Cola will lead other brands to take a deeper look at esports.
They will find a marketing demographic that is extremely attractive, and Amazon-owned Twitch will be a credible partner to help them find marketing opportunities.