By Chris Katzer

Forward Gaming – When going to The International isn’t enough

Over the last year, Forward Gaming has been a staple in the North American Dota 2 Scene. With appearances at some of the largest Dota 2 events of the season, anyone who has followed the Dota Pro Circuit would certainly have heard of them. In a region dominated by Evil Geniuses, though, the Tier 2 team has struggled to get the attention they need to survive as it was announced today the organization was shutting down.

Player-owned organizations are common within the Dota 2 space thanks to the huge amounts of prize money on the line. The desire for an organization is less appealing due to the fact they’re going to take a % of the prize money. However, there is a reason that big esport names dominate The International 2019 line up. Organizations bring structure to what could be five or six people under the age of 23.

Going through the list of sponsors that are behind some of the biggest organizations heading to The International this year you’ll see technology and hardware brands like Acer Predator, Omen by HP, SteelSeries, Razer, Intel and Nvidia to name just a few. Outside of that, we also see non-endemic brands, including but not limited to Monster, Redbull, OnePlus, and Panasonic Lumix.

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With Forward Gaming having just Mr. Cat as their sponsor, the organization lacked some serious firepower on the brand deals front. Expected to pay player and staff salaries, alongside anything needed to make sure the team can perform at its absolute best via the likes of boot camps, sponsors are a key part to the esport ecosystem.

Outside a Venture Capitalist company wanting to keep pushing for what could be years, new organizations are going to continue to lose money during the growing phase. For some context, 100 Thieves (100T) raised $35M USD in a Series B funding round ($25M in a Series A round in October 2018) recently allowing the organization to continue to grow and create what will most likely be one of the worlds most premier Esport Headquarters and Training Facilities.

You don’t need to raise $60M to be a top contender in the esport space; however, you certainly need to be generating some cashflow via sponsors. In a time we hear about sponsorship deals worth $100,000s or even $1,000,000s everyone goes in thinking that is the minimum missing out on companies who are looking to spend under $50,000 to figure out if it’s the right move for them.

Pricing so many companies out of sponsorship deals have become one of the core reasons tier 2 and tier 3 teams struggle to make a living. Sponsorships don’t just allow cashflow within an organization, leveraging the social media power of these companies, increases your brand exposure to people who might’ve never noticed you before.

As we start to see esport organizations move from being just a team to being a lifestyle brand, the possibilities are endless. If you’re an organization looking into brand deals, or a brand looking into esports, feel free to contact us at tenfold.global anytime. We know esports, technology, and hardware, not because they’re popular buzzwords, but because of our passion in the space.  


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