Esports is fuelled and kept afloat by partnerships. Without brands paying to advertise with teams and tournament organizers, considering the current state of play, we’d see a much smaller fraction of companies occupying the industry.
Great partnerships are symbiotic and benefit both parties. The brand that’s looking to advertise themselves wants the maximum amount of reach and to truly make an impression on consumers, and the company they choose to advertise with wants to deliver a great service to the brand to keep them around and to improve the experience for the consumers. The best partnerships are actually beneficial not only for the two entities but for the audience too.
One of the deals that come to mind when considering the criteria for one of the best in esports is that between tournament organizer BLAST and bookmaker Betway. Exclusive to Dexerto, it’s now been announced that they’re entering the third year of their alliance. Not only that, we sat down with BLAST’s commercial director Leo Matlock and Betway’s head of esports Adam Savinson to get a deeper look at what they’ve built together and the importance of their continued success.
Betting big on BLAST
Betway are no strangers to esports, already boasting a well-renowned partnership with Swedish organization Ninjas in Pyjamas. They’ve also worked with the likes of tournament organizers ESL and DreamHack as well as teams PSG.LGD and MIBR, providing varying levels of support while looking to capitalize on the booming esports betting market.
They partnered with BLAST in March 2019 to receive coverage across the BLAST Pro Series, a circuit made up of eight events across several regions. Some deals simply include the inclusion of logos on social media and the tournament broadcast, but both parties understoood the opportunities available by digging deeper than that. If they wanted BLAST viewers to truly care about Betway, they needed to integrate the bookmaker in an authentic fashion that made sense to Counter-Strike fans.
For their first year with BLAST, Betway gained extended backstage access, VIP hospitality options, and in-venue branding. Moving into 2020 it appeared as if they were both happy with their arrangement; they had renewed their deal and, later, the betting giants supported BLAST’s first foray into a new title: Dota 2.
“When people from outside of esports come into the industry, such as myself, there’s a trope that what we’re going to do is bring what’s good in sports and replace what you see in esports,” said Matlock. “We’re trying to take what we know and have learned and apply it over in esports, making sure that the partnerships we do and their outputs to be on an equal footing — if not better — than what we see in the NBA, the NFL, a…
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