With the League of Legends Season 2 Champions crowned last weekend *TPA TPA TPA*, it’s now time to look forward on how the teams and players can improve for Season 3. Practice regiments, professionalism, drama and cheating accusations aside, in this multi-part blog series I will be focusing on how players can improve the value to their sponsors in interviews, social media, streaming and more.
As the scene continues to grow exponentially, more eyes and brands will be looking at Season 3 to determine the value of supporting competitive gaming. We will be seeing new, non-endemic brands taking the leap and the more prepared these teams are, the more comfortable these brands will be in making a long-term commitment.
Let’s first take a look at interviews and in particular, thanking sponsors. Currently, the most common way of thanking sponsors is reciting the brand names off and in most cases with hesitation. Some even forget or don’t bother at all, which is perfectly OK because I understand that they are new to this, but moving forward I see it as an area for improvement. Below I’ve outlined ways that I feel players can improve their ability to add value to their sponsors in these popular, usually viral interviews. I will also give some examples of satisfactory ‘sponsor thanking.’
Tell a Story and make connections
Tell a story of how the product helped you in your professional career while also relating it to the tournament or general buzz/drama going on during the community that moment. This creates a meaningful connection between the players success and the product, something that fans understand and will appreciate. For Example:
I used to get eye strain which would distract me during long practice sessions. After trying gunnars I stopped getting eye strain and was able to focus more, which really helped on developing the skills strategy my team needed to win the championship.
Thanks to Origin PC, we were able to practice, develop strategies and review gameplay in our hotel rooms which gave us a competitive edge against the other teams.
Before going into this tournament, our preparation and analysis of teams lacked because we didn’t have accurate resources and statistics, but thanks to elobuff.com we were able to scout teams and better prepare for our matches.
Know the products, company culture and goals
As a player representing a company it’s your responsibility to understand the products and/or service because you are at the most basic level, marketing them. Knowing the product also means providing feedback and being transparent with these companies on how they can improve user experience from the perspective of a professional player. Having a basic understanding on the core values that the company supporting you is extremely important as well. You are representing more than just a product or name, you are the face of the company's unique culture and history. Along with this is an open dialogue with the company on what they’re striving for to see if you can help in any way.
For Example, if you know that Steelseries is launching their newest headset soon, you can plan mention that in an interview which will peak interest when the launch actually does happen because if the players know about the development, it’s perceived by fans that the product is going to be even more awesome. Not only will your partners appreciate these things, but they’ll value you much more in return.
Don’t make something up just to thank a sponsor. The eSports community can smell bullsh*t from a mile away and WILL call you out on it. On the same token, the community will also know when you’re being authentic and will recognize your efforts. I also believe that the community understands the underlying problem and will appreciate this, especially early on because of how accustomed they are to hearing the names rattled off, if at all.
Players have a lot to work on when it comes to providing value to sponsors outside of top tournament placings. If you know someone who is aspiring to be a professional gamer, please share this with them so they can get a head start.