Shows like “King of Kong” have sparked interest in the retro and arcade games of old. The world of eSports is fast-growing, and teams just now starting out face an uphill climb. Luckily, there’s still plenty of room for new stars on old cabinets. If your crew is ready to up their game and become stars at the local, regional or national stage, you probably need funding. Making money playing games is living the dream, after all. The best way to get funds for events, to cover gear and to pay for practice times is to find a sponsor. Here’s three tested methods for getting your events or team the sponsors to take them to the next level.
There are countless millions of gaming fans out there who would love to get in on the next big thing. They want to be able to say that they were part of a breakout team’s growth when the team first got its legs, and they can help through the magic of crowdfunding. To seek crowdfunding, you’ll need a few things: a camera to make intro videos, someone skilled in writing and editing, and an idea of what you’ll give supporters in return.
Choose your crowdfunding platform wisely. Professional platforms may require you give up some of the equity, or ownership rights, of your team or event. Others may have very specific rules that limit how you use funds. Popular sites like GoFundMe and dedicated platforms such as eSportsFunder are likely smart bets. Remember that you should offer something tangible to supporters, especially if you aren’t providing equity in the team. Low-level rewards can include signed thank-you letters, branded water bottles and access to private blogs or streams. High-tier rewards may include team visits, podcast interviews or one-on-one gaming challenges.
Why not drop down to the nearest comic book or gaming store and ask if they’d like their logo proudly displayed on your gear when you show up for the regional tournaments? This type of low-cost advertising can be a great boon if you’ve already got a small following in the local community. Local shops are often filled with savvy business owners who understand the benefits of being seen by the gaming community.
Don’t ask a single local shop to fund your whole trip, however. Offer them tiered choices, specific dollar amounts, for logo placement on your team jerseys or event flyers. Companies that pay the most should be prominently displayed. Smaller sponsors should have logos on the sleeves and below the chest line of jerseys and in the margins or only on a sponsor page in programs. Try to get at least three, and no more than nine, local sponsors for your first big outing. More isn’t always better, especially at lower funding levels.
Seek Professional Help
If you’re in a small town without many gaming and comic-book stores handy, you can expand your sponsorship search. Use professional tools like those from HelloGamers to get your event and team stats in front of marketers and business owners alike. Make realistic estimates of your draw and include information about venues and previous records or record attempts. These tools can give you access to companies that sell on a national or global scale. Internet-based sponsors can benefit every bit as much as local stores when you get in front of the cameras.
Once you have a sponsor or two, consider issuing a press release or even signing up with Help a Reporter Out to volunteer your experience and knowledge of competitive gaming and retro games when reporters need an expert opinion. Gaining these types of contacts with professional journalists and businesses alike can increase your exposure, making it more likely that the biggest sponsors will come to you as your crew gains prominence through play or simply being in the right place at the right time and ready to seize the opportunity.