On the sponsorship radar: Shikenso’s Esports Radar

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Sponsorships are the lifeblood of esports, and having well-made and detailed insights into them can massively help any brand in the industry. However, only a few rare companies offer a comprehensive analysis based on esports.

There are many benefits to being able to see not just your own sponsors, but also those of other teams, events, and organisations. It allows companies to stay abreast of their competitors’ moves, in addition to keeping tabs on the actions of potential sponsors.

Shikenso Analytics created precisely that with Shikenso Esports Radar, a tool that was launched globally in late February 2023. The Radar, as its name suggests, scans a large number of esports events and creates reports giving insights into everything from age groups to logo placement. Karsten Schonauer, Senior Marketing Manager for Shikenso, explained the details of the new product to Esports Insider.

Data is key. Make use of it
Shikenso is known for its usage of artificial intelligence to provide insight into sponsors and partnerships in esports. The company recently inked a partnership with Team Vitality, while also expanding its operations in the Southeast Asia and North America regions. The new product aims to bring together everything Shikenso knows about data in an off-the-shelf and comprehensible report of major esports events

The main goal for Shikenso EsportsRadar is to enable all stakeholders in (and outside of) esports to evaluate sponsorships with ease and speed, Schonauer said, and added that the key is to take a holistic approach:

“We are evaluating major esports events. We are looking at the event brands, the tournament organiser, and the teams that are participating. Basically, our report offers information on any [company that] was present in a tournament. Any [company that] wants to know what the value of these sponsorships is, can simply buy the reports and understand, well, anything.”

The report can be bought by anyone and is not reserved for just esports brands or companies. Shikenso wants to provide as much transparency into the sponsorship market in esports as possible.

Welcome to the roundup of most important esports investment news from February.

The month saw important, high-profile investments and mergers, however, this was also unfortunately contrasted with layoffs and shutdowns. We saw Esports Entertainment Group offload some of its assets, FaZe Clan layoffs, Beyond the Summit shutting down, but also new investments from Saudi-backed Savvy Games Group.

Saudi Arabian esports and gaming company Savvy Games Group has announced an investment of $265m (~£219m) into Chinese tournament operator and esports company VSPO, which would make the company its single largest equity holder.

Savvy and VSPO said the deal symbolises a ‘landmark commercial partnership’ between China and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia within the esports industry. Exact details regarding the equity percentage have not been revealed.

VSPO is a notable Asian company, specialising in event production and tournament operation in the region.

Esports betting company Esports Entertainment Group (EEG) has entered into a share purchase agreement to sell its Bethard iGaming business, the company’s casino and sportsbook brand, for approximately €9.5m (~£8.45m).

The sale of its Bethard iGaming business, which notably has gambling licences in Malta and Sweden, includes €1.65m (~£1.47m) in cash with an additional €6.5m (~£5.78m) of purchase consideration.

Esports Entertainment Group purchased Bethard in 2021 for €16m (~£13.6m at the time) in cash as well as agreeing a 12% net gaming revenue share for two years.

Conversations around player unions frequently arise among esports professionals, especially following controversies or draining tournament schedules.

Most recently, professional Apex Legends players questioned whether the conversation should restart again following a series of late payments after the Apex Legends Global Series (ALGS) 2022 Championship in Raleigh.

Professional players such as Casper ‘Gnaske’ Præstensgaard of KC Pioneers reported waiting for over five months to receive prize money from the event, claiming that he only received the payment after threatening legal action. He took all the correct steps towards getting the payment, he said, but to no avail.

Back in February, esports platform G-Loot underwent a significant rebranding, changing its logo, name, colour scheme and ethos as a result.

The transition from G-Loot to Stryda signifies more than just a fresh coat of paint with the company looking to branch out from esports to attract the broader gaming audience.

Originally, G-Loot dubbed itself the home of everyday esports with its pay-to-enter tournament platform. The company looked to cater towards higher skilled and competitive gamers, providing them with competitions and challenges that aim to lower the threshold for games to achieve an esports-like experience.

Within the esports sector itself, the company also hosted notable tournaments such as last year’s PUBG G-Loot – Season 5 and 6 as well as VCT OFF//SEASON’s G-Loot VALORANT Clash.

However, according to Stydra, the idea of the rebrand is to adjust its platform to tailor to all gamers as more brands want global access to casual players across multiple games.

“When looking at the word ‘esport’, that might appeal to some gamers and players that are really good at something like playing games but it might alienate other players as well,” highlighted G-Loot’s Creative Director, Juha Silventoinen. “So, competitive gaming is more like for everyone, regardless of skill set.”

To achieve this Stryda has not only changed its branding, but also adapted its structure. The company will continue to offer free-to-play challenges to gamers through ‘Stryda Missions’. Players can also compete in leaderboards and create ‘clans’ to compete with other teams.

February 2023 was an incredibly busy period for the esports betting sector. There was a multitude of partnerships, potential investments in the space, personnel changes and an acquisition.

As a result, Esports Insider has created a list of the top esports gambling stories of the month. To find out more click the titles of the stories.

2022 was a good year for esports viewership and, in turn, for esports betting. The year saw more than 10 events with over one million peak viewers, and major LAN tournaments returned in full force after the pandemic — offering lucrative in-person engagement opportunities.

To discuss the future of esports betting, Esports Insider sat down with Alex McBride, Head of Esports for betting company Pinnacle.

Riot Games kicked off the competitive VALORANT season with the VCT LOCK//IN São Paulo (VCT LOCK IN), which attracted around 1.43m peak viewers and around 430,000 average with just over 100 hours of on-air time, according to Esports Charts.

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The competition is the second-most-watched event in VALORANT’s short history. It concluded on March 4th. UK-based organisation Fnatic beat LOUD in the Grand Final, a Brazilian team with home support in São Paulo.

VCT LOCK IN featured 32 teams from all three main VALORANT regions: EMEA, Pacific, and Americas. The tournament was created both as a way to officially start the new VCT season, but also as a way to showcase all the teams that will participate in the VALORANT regional leagues.

The most-watched match of the tournament, according to Esports Charts, was the Grand Final between Fnatic and LOUD. Interestingly, of the top six most-watched matches of the tournament, LOUD participated in three.

VCT LOCK IN was close to being the most-watched VALORANT event ever, with just ~60,000 viewers separating it from VALORANT Champions 2022. The viewership data includes all official streams, as well as co-streamed efforts from Riot Games-selected partners, of which there were more than 150. There was a total of more than 200 channels covering the event on different platforms and in different languages.

LOUD could be described as the most popular team of the tournament, even though the team did not go all the way. The organisation attracted the most viewers to its matches and, due to the fact that LOUD played all the way to the Grand Finals, guaranteed a high viewership number for the event.

Still, perhaps the main criticism of the event from fans and pundits was the fact that most matches were played in a best-of-one format, perhaps not allowing for a higher viewership number given that teams were eliminated after one loss.