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Esports and Live Streaming Sponsorship Overview: Betting & Gambling Companies

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Esports and Live Streaming Sponsorship Overview: Betting & Gambling Companies
Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Betting and gambling companies have been using the Internet and online culture to connect with young adult demographics, and direct traffic towards their modern mobile apps and websites. The growth of the online industry has given these companies the chance to revolutionise their product, and how they obtain new customers.

Esports Charts presents a list of the largest gambling and betting companies currently involved with gaming and esports in 2024, as well as some of the most influential partnerships and sponsors that these companies have brought to the screens of millions.

These companies have been a sight in the esports scene for over a decade, and their influence and position within esports and livestreaming has only continued to grow. The growth of the cryptocurrency industry also affected betting and gambling, with an overlap emerging between these two areas. Crypto-gambling is a relatively new idea to the industry, but there are still examples of this kind of product sponsored within esports.

 

In 2024, there is no end to the various betting and gambling brands associated with esports teams, organizations, livestreamed events, and more. One clear trend emerging from these partnerships is that Counter-Strike is a prime esports title for these partnerships. The game’s large Western audience combined with Valve’s slightly detached relationship with its esports titles made CS2 one of the brightest esports opportunities for investments.

“Esports and betting companies form a natural partnership, appealing to technology-friendly audiences and deeply entrenched in competitive gaming. Sports betting companies consider the esports industry particularly interesting due to its rapid and continuous growth, large and enthusiastic fan base, and the diverse betting opportunities it offers. A big part of the esports industry maintains firm relationships with sponsors such as bookmakers, which enhance viewer engagement, contribute to the event experiences and drive future growth through strategic partnerships.” – Denis Matusovskiy, Sales & Partnerships Manager at Esports Charts.

On the livestreaming side, Kick is backed by Stake .com co-founders Bijan Tehrani and Ed Craven. Although Stake as a company isn’t directly connected to Kick, the influence is clear. The two companies entered a joint partnership of a Formula 1 team this year, with Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber emerging to compete in the 2024 F1 championship.

Kings League, one of the most-watched livestreamed sports series of the year, partnered with betting brand Sportium to sponsor their 2024 Kings World Cup event. Between Kick and the Kings League, betting and gambling companies have thoroughly exposed their brands to a Latin American audience.

As of this year, Ukrainian betting company GG.Bet is involved with not only Natus Vincere, Ukraine’s leading esports organization, but they have also partnered with BLAST Premier. BLAST is a Danish esports production company that operates as one of Counter-Strike’s best and organizes both official Majors, and their own tournament series. GG.Bet has been one of three sponsors of their BLAST Premier tournament series throughout 2024, which reached 610.1K Peak Viewers at the BLAST Premier: Spring Final 2024, according to Esports Charts.

Another one of Counter-Strike’s most successful companies, ESL FACEIT Group partnered with 1xBet for sponsorship across multiple esports games. 1xBet sponsors the Intel Extreme Masters series in Counter-Strike, which is organized by ESL, and the ESL Pro Tour in Dota 2. This sponsorship deal gives 1xBet exposure to a massive Western esports audience across all of Counter-Strike’s and Dota 2’s competitive regions. The Saudi-owned company agreed to the deal despite gambling being prohibited in Saudi Arabia, a key example of the open attitude many companies show towards gambling and betting partners.

Although ESL FACEIT Group is receptive to betting sponsorships, not all areas of the esports industry are as clean-cut. Riot Games is strictly against gambling sponsors across all their esports scenes in League of Legends and Valorant, and Epic Studios has decided against allowing these companies into their spheres. Not all is dark for the betting and gambling industry, as Activision opened up the Call of Duty League to them in recent years, and there is still a large North American audience for them in esports.

FaZe Clan was recently sponsored by DraftKings, following DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish’s acquisition of a 49% stake in FaZe. DraftKings already  sponsored FaZe Clan a couple of years ago, but this agreement represents their stake in the new era of the company. On the side of crypto casinos, Betify signed a multi-year deal with esports organization Fnatic only three months ago. The seven-figure deal will see the two companies collaborate together on video content and creator activations, along with Betify’s logo featuring on Fnatic’s jersey.

Even in Asia, Indonesian esports organization BOOM Esports partnered with MelBet, despite gambling and online betting being illegal in Indonesia. Companies are confident, even if the local region of an esports team is not a prime audience for a partnership, the teams’ appearance on stage at international events will be successful for brand exposure.

 

Gambling companies have a long history of partnering with various esports teams, the above graphic is a list of recent deals in the esports and livestreaming industry, not necessarily current ones. Betway is one of the longest-standing sponsors of esports, with the team previously being involved with one of the most renowned Dota 2 teams, PSG.LGD, and historic Counter-Strike organization Ninjas in Pyjamas. The company also previously sponsored BLAST Premier events, before GG.Bet took over. Betway is currently partnered with G2 Esports, one of the world’s most popular esports organizations with teams across a wide array of games.

“Esports teams often partner with betting companies for crucial financial support and enhanced brand exposure. Such sponsorships provide much-needed resources for player salaries and other operational expenses, while also boosting visibility through promotional activities. However, such partnerships often come with regulatory challenges, potential reputational risks, and dependency on external factors, for example, changing gambling laws. Navigating such issues is vital to ensuring sustainable growth and maintaining a positive image within the esports community.” – Denis Matusovskiy, Sales & Partnerships Manager at Esports Charts.

BetBoom, which has sparked controversy in the industry due to its operations in Crimea, has been heavily involved with esports for many years now. The company not only has their own esports team competing in Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and PUBG: Battlegrounds, but they have also sponsored their own esports events. BetBoom partnered with FISSURE to host BetBoom Dacha events across both Counter-Strike and Dota 2. BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024 was the most popular of these events, reaching 360.9K Peak Viewers, according to Esports Charts.

FaZe Clan announced a multi-million dollar deal with Rollbit at the beginning of 2024, predating their agreement with DraftKings. The company became a global partner of FaZe Clan’s Counter-Strike roster, which was ranked as the world’s best team at the time of the deal. Esports organization OG was previously partnered with Fun88 as their global betting partner, but the organization has now moved on and signed a deal with 1xBet, the organization’s current official partner. MOUZ is also currently partnered with FONBET, who is focused on expanding their market positions in Europe and Asia according to MOUZ’ Partners page.

Companies in the betting and gambling industry will sponsor esports and livestreamed events however they can. Even in 2020, when Fnatic was one of the world’s leading teams in multiple esports titles, the esports organization was signing game-specific deals. Fnatic announced a partnership in 2020 with Parimatch, exclusively to sponsor their CS2 team, as Riot Games did not allow these kinds of partnerships in League of Legends.

Although not all corners of the esports industry are totally welcoming to gambling and betting sponsorships, many other areas are happy to take these partnerships. Dota 2 and CS2 are the two leading esports games for these kinds of deals, thanks to their large Western audience. Follow Esports Charts for more insights towards esports viewership, and the industry as a whole.

 Author: Iarfhlaith Dempsey, Editor at Esports Charts & Streams Charts

 

eSports

First-ever Olympic Esports Games to take place in 2025; massive opportunity for Indian esports

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Following the IOC’s partnership with the NOC of Saudi Arabia to host the inaugural Olympic Esports Games, India’s growing esports sector has an opportunity to prove its mettle on the international stage and flourish

In a historic move, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that the inaugural Olympic Esports Games will take place in Saudi Arabia in 2025. This decision follows the recent proposal by the IOC’s Executive Board and will be presented at the IOC Session ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The IOC has entered a 12-year partnership with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Saudi Arabia to host the Olympic Esports Games. As per the official announcement, HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Minister of Sport and President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic and Paralympic Committee remarked, “The world is invited to join us in 2025 and celebrate this moment together.”

Indian esports, already on the rise, stands to gain significantly from this development. Following a bronze medal win in DOTA 2 at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and competing in five titles at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, India’s esports scene is on track for further growth.

Expressing his enthusiasm for the groundbreaking development, Akshat Rathee, Co-founder and MD of NODWIN Gaming, said, “NODWIN Gaming is thrilled that esports has earned its place in the Olympics with its own standalone event, akin to the Summer, Winter, and Paralympics. This recognition allows countries to develop independent esports programs. Together with our partners in the GEF and the EWC, NODWIN Gaming is eager to build esports in our core growth markets, seizing this opportunity for hope and glory.”

The IOC launched its first esports pilot, the Olympic Virtual Series, in 2021 followed by the Olympic Esports Week in Singapore in June 2023. This event brought together over 130 players from around the world, competing in 10 mixed-gender categories, attracting over 500,000 unique participants and six million views, with 75% of the audience aged 13 to 34.

“The IOC’s embrace of the Olympic Esports Games honors the dedication and skill of millions of gamers worldwide. It goes beyond just competition; it elevates esports to a global platform, encouraging international collaboration and potentially ushering in a new generation of athletes. This initiative truly is a landmark moment for esports, bringing it the global recognition it has long earned. The inclusion of esports in the Olympic movement demonstrates its growing influence and cements its place in the future of sports,” commented Roby John, CEO and Co-founder at SuperGaming.

The introduction of the Olympic Esports Games is set to further enhance the credibility of esports in India, establishing it as a viable sport and career option.

“This recognition will further legitimize esports as a career option, more parents will now support their children in pursuing careers in this field, elevating the professional landscape of competitive gaming. We are proud to support the growth of esports in India, giving our players the chance to shine on this prestigious international platform,” further.

With the official announcement of the Olympic Esports Games, work will now begin on selecting the host city and venue, determining the event’s timing, selecting titles, and establishing the qualification process for players. The IOC has emphasized collaboration with International Federations already engaged in e-sports and National Olympic Committees that include esports in their activities.

While the titles for the Olympic Esports Games have not been officially announced, the potential inclusion of games across diverse platforms is expected to stimulate growth in India’s gaming industry. This could lead to a rise in PC and console gaming, diversifying India’s predominantly mobile gaming market as players aim to represent their nation at the largest international multi-sport event.

“We are absolutely elated by the announcement of the Olympic Esports Games which is being hosted in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This marks a monumental step for the industry and all its stakeholders. The Indian esports sector is on an upward trajectory and this will further empower it. Esports being integrated under the banner of the pinnacle of sports events in the world will bring further legitimacy to this form of sport and encourage a new generation of esports talent to rise from the country. We’re excited and look forward to extending our support to the esports community of India so they make a mark at the global event!” said Vishal Parekh, COO, CyberPowerPC India.

Additionally, the IOC will establish a dedicated structure for the Olympic Esports Games, distinct from the traditional Olympic Games model, to address the unique aspects of esports financing and organization.

 

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Asia

AFK Gaming announces India’s first-ever premium insights dashboard for esports analytics

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

In a bid to provide authentic data and unparalleled insights into the nation’s esports industry, AFK Gaming has announced the beta launch of ‘AFK Gaming Insights’, India’s first-ever premium analytics dashboard.

This first-of-its-kind powerful tool offers real-time data and analytics to help users, brands and other stakeholders make informed decisions and stay ahead in the esports landscape of the country.

AFK Gaming Insights features three core analytics modules:
Tournaments Analytics: Access detailed information on prize pools, sponsors, players, teams, and more. This module provides a comprehensive view of the financial and competitive aspects of esports tournaments, enabling users to strategize effectively.

User Analytics: Discover valuable insights into demographics, occupations, interests, income ranges, spending habits, and more. This data helps users understand the diverse backgrounds and behaviours of the Indian gaming community, facilitating targeted marketing and engagement efforts.
Social Analytics: Track key metrics such as Instagram followers, YouTube subscribers, and the country’s top live streamers.

Expressing his enthusiasm on the beta launch of AFK Gaming Insights, Nishant Patel, Co-founder and CEO of AFK Gaming stated, “AFK Gaming Insights is a product built to address a critical market need. In the absence of reliable data to aid their decision making, key stakeholders in the Indian gaming, esports and youth culture industries have been struggling to make informed decisions. With this launch, we hope to empower tournament organizers, brand managers, team owners and industry observers with a single source of truth that they can turn to for industry knowledge and information that will drive the sector’s growth as a whole.”

According to a report by Niko Partners, India is the fastest-growing gaming market, with over 450 million gamers and more than USD 830 million revenue generated in 2023. This expansive market requires a platform that enables stakeholders and brands to access insights on the go and use these metrics for their engagement and campaigns.

To address this, AFK Gaming Insights, which will be available exclusively to annual subscribers, has been devised to cater to a diverse spectrum of users. For newcomers, the dashboard serves as an entry point, providing information that helps them understand trends, player performances and tournament dynamics.

Gamers can optimise their strategies and refine their performances while hardcore audiences will benefit from the deeper insights on their favourite gamers and teams’ social media engagements, viewerships and tournament statistics. For example, the tool reveals that Total Gaming is currently the most viewed Indian gaming YouTuber, with an average of 4.25 million views per video over the last month.

On the other hand, industry stakeholders can leverage detailed analytics into market trends, audience behaviours and sponsorship opportunities to make strategic decisions. For instance, the dashboard uncovers significant trends, such as the fact that more Indian gamers spend money on a daily basis rather than not spending at all.

This pioneering platform promises to redefine the analysis of competitive gaming and change the way esports is perceived in the country.

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Asia

Gen.G Launches Official 2024 Summer Jersey with LIBILLY

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Global esports organisation Gen.G announced their newest apparel collaboration with LIBILLY, a Seoul streetwear culture-based brand led by rapper Changmo. The “2024 Gen.G x LIBILLY Collection” represents icons of youth and passion in cross-cultural scenes; the two brands are teaming up to promote K-culture worldwide, beyond Korea’s domestic stage.

“Every year, we are proud that we get to be a part of some of the biggest esports moments in the world. This year, we are excited to partner with Changmo and the team at LIBILLY to introduce a new kit during such a historic season,” Arnold Hur, CEO of Gen.G Esports, said.

The new collection with LIBILLY consists of six pieces, including the official jersey and jacket as well as short-sleeved t-shirts, sweatshirts and ball caps featuring both organisations’ logos. The official jersey, accented in Gen.G’s signature gold colour, is designed to be breathable and comfortable for both players and fans to wear. Gen.G’s iconic slogan “Change the Game” is printed on it to encourage fans to collect. LIBILLY is the latest in a series of successful lifestyle collaborations for Gen.G, with brands like The Hundreds, PUMA and Heron Preston in past years.

The lifestyle apparel features a mashup of Gen.G adorable mascot “Genrang” wearing clothes with LIBILLY’s symbol “031” logo, among other cobranded apparel items. Images of the Gen.G League of Legends team, currently competing in Riyadh for the 2024 Esports World Cup, have captured the hearts and minds of fans since they first leaked.

“I’m excited to wear new uniforms this season through our collaboration with the hip and young brand LIBILLY. It was fun to try out and shoot content in a different look than we did before, so I hope the fans enjoy it as much as we enjoyed this process,” said Gen.G’s Jeong “Chovy” Ji-hoon.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Gen.G, a representative of the esports scene. We hope that this collection, which reinterprets the passionate brand image of Gen.G from our perspective and expresses it in a new dimension, will be a meaningful gift to Gen.G fans around the world. We also look forward to the various collaborative activities that Gen.G and LIBILLY will continue to launch,” said rapper Changmo, head of LIBILLY.

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