Esport Arenas & Venues – The New Frontier for Sponsorship

With the news of OverActive Media – owners of the Toronto Defiant and ULTRA - officially releasing news of a 7000 seat venue in Toronto by 2025, it’s always fun for us here at The Sponsorship Space to speculate what kind of deals and partnerships can emerge from a new venue.

But let’s set the record straight first – for those unfamiliar with the esports scene, Overwatch League’s Philadelphia Fusion had also planned to build a smaller scale base for their team hopefully by sometime this year.

There’s definitely a trend here though as new forms of entertainment are making its way into the circuit.

What Partnerships Can We Expect?

This is obviously one of the most exciting parts in sponsorship marketing – what can we actually expect in terms of exclusivity and rights in an arena?

First off, how about the naming rights? Do you think the telecom giant, Bell already has the upper hand due to their sponsorship with Toronto Defiant or ULTRA? Or will we see TD make another splash into the esport scene? Heck, maybe a beverage company might quench their business thirst with a bid.

Just north-east of the proposed construction, Coca Cola, Rogers and Scotiabank already have their names etched into the Toronto sports scene so it should be no surprise that their competition may already be expressing interest.

Besides, BMO already has their namesake next door in the Exhibition Grounds by Lake Ontario.

It should be no surprise that we'll see endemic brands coming into the mix, but I'd be intrigued to see if there be specific sections of the arena that offer a branded experience. Maybe a content creation section offering the best seating and views of your favourite players?

Seeking other 'fantasy' predictions in esports? Click here to find out more.

Redefining the Retail and Fan Experience with Brands

With the pandemic still having a hold of store closures and changing the customer experience of grocery and other retailers, you would have to imagine that a futuristic venue in Toronto or Philadephia may open up doors to elevated branded experiences. After all, the new generation consumes content and takes in experiences much differently. You also have to figure that after the pandemic is over and done with, brands will definitely be coming in blazing with new ways to elevate their experiential marketing game.

We’ve already seen pop up shops and festivals giving customers that defining experience, ultimately displaying what their brand is all about. So, what’s the next step?

Recently, Proctor and Gamble’s Old Spice released their launch in its first brick and mortar barbershop venture. It will not only serve as a haircare business but also a content studio for Old Spice, sharing styling tips and haircuts on social media. Could we see brands further elevating that experience? Content remains king after all – just ask any streamer or gamer what they think about that.

How about malls or retail giants like the Walmarts of the world? Could we see mini arenas being built in as well?

Funny enough, that’s already been done in the US.

Yes, we can imagine the type of brand exposure that surrounds the competition scene at a Walmart or a grocery store. Local tournaments sponsored by KitKat maybe? ‘Take a break’ from grocery shopping, play in a single elimination tournament! Sign us up!

Malls? Yes, that’s in the works as well!

Malls and retailers are technically already ‘venues’. Customers are fans at the end of the day who are willing to spend. Why not elevate that experience?

We’ve seen activations tailored toward women who game. Maybe a ‘game face’ tournament, all-women only sponsored by the local Sephora is in the cards?

A dedicated esports venue opens up a ton of doors for brands to push their creativity in a futuristic environment. But it also shouldn’t limit of what happens in a dedicated arena alone. Esports is the future of entertainment and brands will have to quickly find ways to get creative.