Sunday, 4 August 2013
Are sponsors limiting the growth of eSports?
To date clans cluster around sponsors like hounds around the master who throws scraps to the baying pack to placate the insatiable demand.
All the scraps do is temporarily satiate the hunger pangs which quickly return and leave no real respite.
So does the current sponsorship of eSports. Clans sell their brands for little and the sponsorship thus received does little to promote growth of gaming in terms of the number of gamers, standard of gaming or even the long-term financial sustainability of gaming.
As a result the sponsors too feel they are under siege. As the clans yelp around the sponsors for sponsorship, the sponsors are acutely aware of the transient nature of the clans. In business, any company that has not been in existence for at least ten years is considered to have a high rate of failing. Yet, only the clubs based at schools and universities have survived for more than ten years. Bravado is one of the few clans that is coming up to its tenth year of existence through the herculean efforts of 'bvd-cent'.
Sponsors are also more than aware that most, if not all, clans have no legal status and are often nothing more that individuals operating as Sole-traders. The opportunity for sponsors to thus claim any sponsorship as social development in order to win much needed BEE points is thus negated, and the sponsors themselves are aware that such sponsorships should be treated by those clans as income in the hands of the owners of such clans.
Also, many of the sponsors are aware that many gamers will in fact not buy their products. Gamers are without doubt a very discerning breed when it comes to technology and will favour picking-and-choosing what they need to build up their 'rigs' rather than just buying a finished product.
The types of sponsorships received thus do little for log-term development. While it is nice for a clan to secure hardware for their top clan, such a sponsorship does little to promote gaming and the profitability of the sponsor itself.
And therein lies the rub!
Unless sponsors can see that by sponsoring eSports that they will do more business, it remains more profitable for sponsors to sponsor football, rugby, and/or cricket.
Everybody in eSports thus has a duty to ensure that the sponsors can and will do better.
This does not mean that everybody must run out and quickly start purchasing computers, screens and the such.
Instead, every gamer must help to make it possible for prospective sponsors to substantially increase sales.
One of the ways to do this is to simply tap into NATIONAL LOTTERY FUNDING (NDLTF).
Of course there are criteria that have to be followed in order to do this, but it can be done!
Any club affiliated to the MSSA can apply for up to R200,000.00 per annum. The monies can be spent on equipment, kit, travel and entry fees, but only if:
a. the club is affiliated to the recognised national federation, and
b. has at least three year's audited financial statements.
Through participating in the NDLTF in this way, gamers will be able to unlock substantial amounts which will benefit sponsors and sponsored alike.
The money received will be spent on purchasing new equipment, which will increase the amount of sales and will further encourage companies to commit larger amounts to sponsoring both clans and events.
The growth can thus be exponential as more and more money will be spent in the computer industry.
Remember that approximately R400 million is earmarked every year for sport – it is foolish not to take advantage of this gilded invitation.
By following this course of action, gamers will have taken the initiative in controlling the destiny of eSports in South Africa to become the masters of their own fate.