The Phunk Aspect: To The Dismay of Sponsors

BY Andrew Miesner / February 16, 2009

This is an editorial piece and does not necessarily represent the views of compLexity Gaming or its parent company. 

Everything and anything in the media or in the public eye has some sort of financial backing. This financial backing most commonly comes from sponsorships and partners of the media team or organization involved, not from the organization itself. Over the past five or so years, gaming has come into the public eye in many different ways from Game-to-Movie releases, professional tournaments, and television series.

 With this in mind, you may be able to realize how professional gaming really came about. We all know it’s all about the money. In a recent interview compLexity did with Dave “Moto” Geffon, formerly of 3D, Dave was critical, but honest, when it came to sponsors involvement in eSports and its effect on the “eSports boom”. When you go to any professional gaming organization’s website, you see decently sized image hyperlinks to a server company, a voice protocol company(VoIP), a website design company, or some sort of computer or electronic hardware company. These links are for that organization’s sponsoring companies and partners. These are very similar to the big stickers you see on NASCAR race cars. The sponsors pay the organization money to succeed on a professional level. This is how professional gaming has come about and will stay on an international level.

The incentive of sponsoring a team is to get recognition and consumers for your products. Intel, AMD, and other leading hardware companies have gotten “What would you rather have? Intel or Jason Lake?”consumers and recognition just through the leagues, tournaments, and teams that they sponsor. These sponsorships got both the gaming organization and the company more money and publicity. Enjoyed success was had only until around a year ago when global economies plummeted beyond all belief. All things that are directly influenced by the American economy have fallen into the slumps in some way or another. Gaming is not hidden from this fate nor will it shy away from the public eye due to this fate.  

 As the American economy falls, professional gaming will slump to the lowest it has ever been. This slump will not be more than expected, but it will cause big money corporations to end their “big money” influence on gaming. This fall of big money corporations, known as sponsors, has already started happening and will not stop until their company’s monetary gain grows exponentially. As of late, you may have seen that Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has dropped all of its large gaming sponsorships including SK-Gaming and other large tournaments. Along with AMD dropping sponsorships, there are many rumors traveling around that Intel will expunge all sponsorships and that Dell will finally remove all of its American sponsorships. So what has happened to sponsors and their sponsorships?
 Large American hardware companies have officially backed out of their professional gaming sponsorships for now, but not all of them have backed out of their sponsorships on other continents. “Well, let’s face it…great demographic: 13-34 year olds….and the fact that it’s just inherently exciting.” -Steven Roberts, Vice President of DirecTVRecently, the United Kingdom eSports Assocation has formed a contractual sponsorship with American computer manufacturer Dell. I don’t believe there is a public outrage towards this situation, but I have talked to numerous people and have seen countless responses towards this and they have almost all questioned Dell as to why they are willing to sponsor a United Kingdom league but not a league in the United States. I honestly do not know the financial situation of Dell, the CGS, or of UKeSA. But I do wonder the same thing. America is in an economic recession and an American company is not willing to give money to America, but is willing to give it to the United Kingdom.

Sponsors are really amazing in their generosity towards professional eSports, but are even more amazing in their methods of dropping and ignoring it after the fact. Professional Gaming, just as any sport, would not be at the level it is today without the support of its sponsors. However, companies that have put in great effort to eSports for the number of years that they have should stand behind eSports through these times. As regular civilians and spectators, we can only sit back and see what happens in the world’s economy and we can only hope that sponsors and contracts in professional gaming will stay as they are and hope that gaming moves further in the future. Thank you for sponsoring professional gaming!