There are many key factors that will play into how sports sponsorship – and sponsorship in general will shift and change over the coming years.
One big factor is the steady increase in the popularity of digital entertainment. An example of this is esports. Year on year, esports is growing ever more popular, so much that it’s estimated that by 2022 the industry itself will be worth $1.9 billion. With many events being streamed online and a wide variety of game genres being played, esports not only appeals to large audiences, but is easily accessible.
A possible reason for the recent boom in the popularity of esports could be down to the COVID-19 pandemic. While most physical sports and sporting events had to stop, online esports were free to continue as usual. With this, more attention was being drawn to esports as people were looking for alternatives to their usual entertainment. Esports and online gaming in general also gave people a sense of connection that they feel they had lost during lockdown.
How does this tie into sponsorship?
As with all sports, there are sponsorship opportunities with esports. While being one of the relatively newer forms of entertainment, esports has many big-name brands sponsoring teams and individuals. Brands such as Red Bull, who in 2020 invested over $578 million into esports. As of 2018, sponsorship was the highest-grossing esports revenue stream worldwide.