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Becoming a Pro Gamer: Finding a Sponsor

So you’ve gotten this far in your quest to become a pro-gamer, eh?  You’ve been reading all these great articles from vVv Gaming and you learned a bunch of stuff, right?  You now know how to find a gaming community; where to compete; what to do when you suck; why you should help noobs; and why you need to have a capture card.

Well, now we get to the part that puts the ‘pro’ in ‘pro gamer’, finding a sponsor!:

So You Wanna Get Sponsored? by Jerry “Lord Jerith” Prochazka

In a gamer’s journey to becoming competitive, he or she will eventually encounter players and teams that claim to be sponsored. For many players that are trying to become professional gamers, this sounds like the pinnacle of eSports success. In this article, we wanted to give you the tools to evaluate the legitimacy and integrity of a sponsor.

Read more after the jump!

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You play for me, yes? First give me your sister’s phone number!

The first thing you have to know is that many gamers claim to be sponsored. So few of these gamers are actually sponsored, the safest way to approach these claims is with extreme skepticism. Many gamers, because they themselves want to be sponsored, are very susceptible to believing any claims of a sponsorship. Do not be so gullible!

Ego plays a very important factor in evaluating sponsorships. No matter how good you think you are, why would anyone sponsor your team when they can sponsor the tournament that your team is entering? This is a very important question to consider. Also, why should anyone sponsor you or your team before sponsoring an established and respected team or player? Also, you should ask, how legitimate can a claim of sponsorship really be if they say they are going to sponsor you, and you don’t have a history of sustained superior LAN performance?

The worst perpetrators are often gaming communities. Many gaming communities will claim to have sponsors. In reality, most have no sponsors outside of the pockets of the owner, or receive minor product sponsorships. Here are examples of common claims, made by potential sponsors.

  • “We get a budget of <x> amount of dollars to spend every month on events.”

  •  My mom or dad works for the airlines, and we can travel for free.”

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  •  ”<Insert random energy drink here> is gonna back our team and pay for us to go to events.”
  • So-and-so’s dad works at <insert random headset/keyboard/mouse manufacturer here>, and they’re gonna fly us around the world to go to events.”

Many so-called sponsors, or organizations that claim to sponsor teams, almost always make promises they cannot keep. Since gaming is dominated by young players, inexperienced young peoples’ “business strategy” consists of getting top teams to represent them through promises of sponsorships, with the naive idea that once they have all these teams they can go to a legitimate sponsor and actually get some sort of cash support to pay for LAN fees and travel expenses. As you can imagine, this always ends in broken promises and mismanaged expectations. In the worst case, good players represent an organization for two to three months, and then right before an event, and often so close to the event that players have to scramble to even attend, these so called sponsors will develop mysterious problems that prevent them from delivering on their promises. This is why it is so important, and perhaps even safer, to join communities that are well established, like vVv Gaming, that has a reputation for “promises made are promises kept.” Of course, don’t expect to be sponsored by a major gaming organization like vVv Gaming if you haven’t yet proven yourself at a major LAN event.

So how can you determine if someone is a legitimate sponsor? The first thing you want to do is examine their website closely. Look at their activity and traffic. Since there is no way to know how many unique users visit a site every month, unless they post that information publicly like vVv Gaming does, your best guide to site activity will be their forum traffic.  If you see someone with a list of long sponsors, and then you look at their membership and they have only 100 members with only 500 posts, then you know that the sponsorship claim is not legitimate. Ask yourself, would you want to advertise on a site that does not get a lot of traffic? Would you give someone ninety thousand dollars for teams to travel, on a site that receives little traffic? Of course not! Don’t fool yourself into believing what you want to be true. Do your research, be skeptical, and find out for yourself the legitimacy of any sponsorship offers or claims made by teams and organizations.

At vVv Gaming, even though we sponsor some of the best players, we always recommend up and coming players explore one great sponsor: j-o-b. Yes, that’s right, be your own sponsor by getting a job!  That’s your safest and most legitimate sponsor you’ll have. Always look there first.