Esports organizations have spent years trying to evolve away from endemic brand partners in favor of blue-chip, non-endemic sponsors. But as sponsorships in the space grow fewer and farther between, endemics are becoming more attractive partners for esports teams large and small — and brands are taking advantage.
As they jockeyed for brand partnerships during the rise of competitive gaming, many esports organizations looked down their noses at partnerships with gaming-endemic brands, instead setting their sights on non-endemic partners. In their pitch documents and investor materials, teams such as FaZe Clan openly discussed plans to replace endemic sponsors including G Fuel and SteelSeries with mainstream brands like DoorDash and McDonald’s.
Over the past year, however, this script has flipped. Marketers have grown more wary of the returns on esports partnerships, with some, like BMW, explicitly pulling away from the space. This means a potential opening for tried-and-true endemic brands like gaming hardware brand Alienware to strengthen their connections to esports fans — and the teams they cheer for.