Intel to sponsor eSports’ ESL Premiership
Intel, the technology company that is heavily involved in eSports, has added to its sponsorship portfolio after agreeing a deal with ESL, the eSports promotion company owned by Sweden’s Modern Times Group, to sponsor the UK-based ESL Premiership.
Under the deal, Intel, which is a long-term partner of ESL, becomes the official headline sponsor of the tournament.
The agreement also includes a collaboration with Currys PC World, the UK-based electrical retailer.
The ESL Premiership feature four video games: Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six; Valve’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive; Riot Games’ League of Legends; and Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone.
All computers used in the tournament’s offline finals will be fitted with Intel processors.
James Dean, UK managing director of ESL, said: “Intel is the largest endemic brand currently within esports. To have Intel as headline sponsor of the ESL Premiership for 2018, not only solidifies that claim, but adds further credibility to our National Championship, which has grown year on year for the past five years.
“Partners like these are imperative to running successful, national-level esports. We are proud to be associated with brands like Intel and Currys PC World and we look forward to working with them closely to further develop the growing grassroots esports ecosystem in the UK.”
Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur, of English soccer’s Premier League, could become the latest professional sports team to invest in eSports after it was revealed that the club has been in talks with London Spitfire, a franchise in the much-vaunted Overwatch League.
Dan Fiden, president of the team and Cloud9, the eSports organisation that owns the franchise, told the UK’s Sun newspaper, that the team has been in talks with Tottenham and other soccer clubs about a partnership.
He said: “I will tell you that we have not made a partnership with anyone yet. We have had conversations with a number of teams, Tottenham is one of them. They are an incredibly impressive organisation and what they’re doing in the development is awesome. They’re really want to invest in the community in a way that is important for us when we think about partnerships.
“I think what we intend to do in London has the opportunity not just to make a single space that has our branding.”
Last year, it was revealed that Tottenham was considering opening an eSports venue at their new £800-million ($1.1 billion) stadium in North London, which is set to be completed later this year.
Several owners of US sports teams have recently invested in eSports with Robert Kraft, owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, which is presently a majority shareholder in teams including NFL's Los Angeles Rams, NBA’s Denver Nuggets and NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, and Comcast, the US media giant, which owns the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers, all acquiring franchises in the Overwatch League.
Last October, Cloud9 raised $25 million in Series A financing from a group of investors that included wrestling’s WWE and Raul Fernandez, the co-owner of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the NBA’s Washington Wizards.
• MTS, the Russian telecoms company, has entered the gaming market by acquiring Praliss Enterprises, the parent company of Gambit Esports, a Moscow-based eSports organisation.
The two parties claim that the agreement represents the largest eSports acquisition in Europe.
Through the agreement, MTS is to provide Gambit Esports with support and tools for growth and development.
Gambit ESports will retain all 16 of its players which compete across four different video game titles. Konstantin Pikiner is to retain the role of chief executive and will lead the project as chief gaming officer at MTS.
Commenting on the agreement, Pikiner said: "It's an important and iconic event for our organization. Esports industry is growing rapidly, the level of competition is higher than it has ever been before.
"Big brands from all over the world, famous sports and entertainment organizations have begun investing in the esports industry, therefore we are glad that Russian companies are not an exception. Opportunities provided by one of the leading technological companies will allow us to focus on achieving competitive success and interaction with our audience."