After a difficult 2023, brand sponsorships are trending upward in esports in 2024 — but in a more experimental manner than the blind trust of past years.
The cold of esports winter is ongoing, but the weather has been feeling balmier in the first month of 2024. Brands such as Kia are re-entering the space by sponsoring both teams and leagues, and the Overwatch League, which died an ignominious death last year, is returning in the form of ESL/FACEIT Group’s Overwatch Champions Series.
But brands are getting smarter about esports, too, and spending less blindly than some did during the hype-infused FOMO days of 2018 and 2019. It’s become clear that the ROI of esports sponsorships is far behind that of traditional sports partnerships, and marketers are no longer willing to simply copy and paste their sports marketing budgets over to esports. Furthermore, esports companies remain reliant on brand partnership revenue, forcing them to cut deals with brands in order to stay afloat.