value of sponsorship

The Value of Sponsorship in Gaming — Sideqik Data

Everyone knows that one way to get increase brand visibility is to sponsor events that are relevant to your audience. But do you know what returns are you really getting from those dollars? We here at Sideqik believe in using data to back all assertions up. So what is the value of sponsorship? We crunched the numbers and found that brands that sponsored the gaming team Cloud9 over the ELEAGUE Boston Major competition racked up more than $7 million worth of exposure.

This week’s blog takes a deep dive into those numbers to prove just how worthwhile sponsorship can be.

Some Background

In case you’re not in gaming, ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018 was the twelfth Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Major tournament. The event ran from January 12, 2018, to January 28, 2018, and featured twenty-four professional teams from around the world.

In case you missed the event, the team Cloud9 dominated the competition, winning the whole event. Cloud9 is an American eSports organization, which fields teams in Rocket League, League of Legends, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Overwatch, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Vainglory.


Cloud9 has a number of partners including streaming platform Twitch, HTC, custom PC company iBUYPOWER, gaming hardware brand HyperX, video-on-demand platform Crunchyroll, PC and hardware brand MSI, and gaming chair company NeedforSEAT. These partners have their products and logos displayed during competition. Partnership deals aren’t cheap. It’s important to know what brands are really getting when they sign on with a well-known team like Cloud9.

The Numbers

While calculating Cloud9’s partners’ earned media value, we assumed 1 minute viewed on YouTube is equal to 1 minute viewed on Twitch, where the games were originally streamed. We value one view at $0.12 and one hour watched as $1.01. We took into consideration that each match lasted one hour (the average length of a competitive match), giving the team 1 hour of the total length of the stream. Our calculations do not include views of videos on demand or replays, instead only calculating the value of ELEAGUE’s Twitch streams (meaning actual returns are likely higher).

It’s always valuable to back a winner, and Cloud9’s numbers back up that assertion. During pools, sponsors racked up EMV ranging from $300,000 to $450,000. As the team progressed to semi-finals and eventually the championship game, returns spiked dramatically due to more exposure comparatively, growing to over $1 million and then over $2 million.

In total, over the whole series, sponsors and the team earned $7,569,178 from ELEAGUE Twitch streams alone. However, following the hype, reviews and voice/social lift that exposure could be much, much higher into the 10’s of millions of value.

Is Sponsorship the Right Route?

For brands looking to dabble in sponsorships, this means that sponsoring teams can be very lucrative overall. The bigger and more successful the team, the more expensive contract deals can be. Also expensive are exclusivity contracts keeping competitors out of contention until the contract expires.

To get the most value out of sponsorships, smaller brands should focus on the up and coming brands that are entering the scene or expanding their gaming portfolio. Smaller teams that are also successfully winning tournaments are great for exposure, but we must evaluate the exposure of the tournament. If they have won multiple LANs you won’t get very much exposure at all, but if they’re competing in broadcasted tournaments (even if they lose early) the continued exposure can be super valuable.

Of course, there is always the alternative of sponsoring streamers that target your market. Individual streamers can come at lower costs and can have more consistent exposure. But, as they say, it takes money to make money. In this case, risks by C9’s sponsors have paid off dividends — and that’s just for one tournament.

Nancy Rothman

Nancy Rothman

Nancy is a passionate, results-driven marketing executive with more than a decade of experience in building robust integrated marketing programs for brands of all sizes, with specific expertise in the martech space. Prior to Sideqik, Nancy held roles at four successful martech startups, each of which received multiple series of fundraising and included two acquisitions. At CallRail, specifically, Nancy served as the director of marketing where she built the company’s brand and established it as a leader in its space. She also held roles at MeetEdgar, where she oversaw the entire sales and marketing practice, increasing the company's user base and annual recurring revenue, as well as PureCars, which was acquired by Raycom Media in 2015. As vice president of marketing for Sideqik, Nancy is responsible for developing and executing on the company's marketing strategy to drive overall business growth.

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