What eSports Sponsorship Provides

We've had a lot of excitement around the shop surrounding the upcoming Zehn Masters series, a large series focused on many games rewarding Rome Revolution jerseys and a shot at a national payout. New teams are forming which is GREAT to see, and we're working hard to spread the word to bring in the best local players we can find. It's going to be an exciting few months.

Have you bought your tickets yet? Stop reading and go buy them now!

We've sponsored players in the past before to local events and even some national SSB4 events, and this has usually been a skill based system, where we would send the best we could find off. For team events this often has meant teams that had formed outside of LAN Mob and already existed, and not necessarily a homegrown team. It has been the wild west in the sense that these aren't really LAN Mob teams or players - we don't coach them, or have any say over their rosters, or any ability to step in when problems arise to try to resolve.

We're facing a similar situation with the upcoming Zehn Masters series. There will be 50+ jerseys given away and a chance to represent LAN Mob and Rome Revolution on a national scale, with over $20,000 in cash prizes up for grabs. That's all pretty awesome, but when I start to think past the national event towards what sort of opportunities are available to continue a sponsorship it starts to get hairy.

  • Are the winning player(s) capable of being ambassadors for their game and for Rome? We meet a lot of great gamers around the shop, but also have met some controversial to difficult to downright toxic individuals.
  • Are they interested and receptive to being coached - or maybe more importantly, are we knowledgeable enough and capable of coaching them?
  • Do they have the support structure in their lives - family, job, time - to commit to developing their skills?
  • Does their culture and values overlap with our own?

Skill vs Support

Skill and ability to learn is certainly important in professional gaming, but even more important is building a support network around the player to help them achieve their best. This is amplified in team games where there are countless intangibles that can affect the outcome of a game. Look at any sport and you'll find dream teams that were put together of the best talent that looks great on paper, but in reality functions poorly due to poor chemistry, coaching, or otherwise. 

So we've been spending a lot of thought on what exactly eSports sponsorship should involve, and how we can grow that around our shop. That started first with a look at ourselves - what are our strengths at different games, and how can we leverage those resources to our players. There are plenty of games we can admit we're not knowledgeable or skillful enough at to provide the support needed. We also analyzed our values as an organization: what kinds of behaviors do we expect of our players, and what should not be tolerated.

What to Look For in an eSports Organization

So what should an eSports sponsorship provide for its players?
  • Financing - At its most basic level, sponsorship should offer some sort of financial support to its players. This can include: tournament buy-ins, travel expenses, gear, and training.
  • Coaching - An eSports organization needs to be capable of coaching its players. This is a broad field which covers everything from gaming skill, to mindset, motivation, and emotional control. It's all about using unbiased eyes to help players to grow and become the best they can be.
  • Promotion & Marketing - Every player has a story that makes them unique, and the organization should be heading the effort to get the player's names out there.
  • Support - Players come from a variety of backgrounds and situations and require support to help ensure their gaming gels with the rest of their lives. This can take on a variety of forms including nutrition, health & fitness, career and family support. Having trouble in any of these areas can impact a player's performance on game day.
  • Growth - It's important to provide growth opportunities to your players. This can include both growth within the organization as well as chances to make the leap to the larger professional organizations.
  • Merchandising - Players should be given a chance to monetize their own brand through merchandising provided by the organization.
This is just a short list, and larger organizations can grow to encompass much more.

Project Veigar / Project Bastion

Some of you may have gotten invites recently to our discord channels for Project Veigar and Project Bastion. League of Legends and Overwatch are two games that we feel have a good following locally and where our aptitudes put us in in a position to coach up some teams to perform at their best. We're using these channels to grow these two LAN Mob teams, and they'll each be entered into the Zehn Masters series as a contender. For now we're starting with the players who are around our shop the most and have developed familiarity with staff, and who we know can show up for practice nights. The back room will be transforming into a team area where instant game reviews can be had and discussed, and we're building out coaching staffs and player profiles for each team.

More importantly - win or lose, these are teams we plan to continue to invest resources in beyond the Zehn Masters winter series. This means a rotating roster that will be submitted to local and regional events to represent LAN Mob and Rome Revolution eSports. If you're interested in joining one of these teams the best advice I can give you is to start playing around the shop and meeting our staff. If we feel there might be chemistry with our existing team we might try you out for a few games. The rosters will be always growing and evolving and improving, but we can't sponsor you unless we get to know you first.

Check out our Facebook page for all the upcoming Zehn Masters Events and links for purchasing tickets:

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