TNL eSports Brand Tracker 001: Visa and SK Gaming

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 001: Visa and SK Gaming

Visa Sponsors eSports Team SK Gaming (Photo: SK Gaming)

TNL Take: Visa kicks off 2017 by making a big investment in top German eSports team SK Gaming

SK Gaming currently have teams in Counter-Strike, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft and Vainglory - but their CS team is the biggest draw sporting 2 of the worlds top players in Brazilians Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo and Marcelo "coldzera" David.  SK Gaming is one of the favorites to win the current ELEAGUE Major.

It's great to see Visa make a big move like this considering their initial move into eSports was with Formula-E - which no one watches.

Visa Sponsors eSports Team SK Gaming (Photo: SK Gaming)

Not much was revealed about the overall partnership outside of an appearance on behalf of Visa at CES a few weeks ago with SK Gaming Counter-Strike Athletes Gabriel "FalleN" Toledo and Epitacio "TACO" de Melo - both of them combined have half a million Twitter followers.

There have been rumors of a price tag of "high six figures" for this partnership - I'd estimate that it was for ~$500,000.

Lara Balazs, Senior Vice President and Head of North American Marketing at Visa told [a]listdaily the following (emphasis mine):

“You have athletes that embody the brand, are digitally savvy, and they’re truly embodying entrepreneurship and taking it to the next level. They’re a terrific addition to our marketing.”

“We’re excited about the possibility of eSports given the interest by millennials and our target consumer"


I couldn't agree more Visa.

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 032: Visa and Formula E


TNL eSports Brand Tracker 036: Visa (Photo: Formula E)

TNL Take: The first EU Financial Services Brand makes the eSports investment with Visa Europe's Sponsorship of Formula E's eSports Pro Series.

This deal makes sense for a few reasons:


Visa has long been associated with Auto Racing and is currently a Sponsor of Formula E's main electric Racing Series. Overlapping that Sponsorship into eSports is a no brainer and they may not even have paid that much.


Along with sponsoring the live streaming eSports events, Visa gets an opportunity to activate onsite at Racing events as they did recently in London.

Visa London ePrix eSports Event (Photo: Formula E)


This was more than likely known when the deal was announced in April, but Formula E and Visa also get distribution on UK's 24/7 eSports channel, Ginx TV, through a recent deal.

While those are all good there's one very big challenge.


Racing eSports has no audience


While I've said this before - and believe this will change over time - it's very challenging to drive viewership for Racing eSports as 2016 is basically Year Zero for the genre.

Here's the audience for a June race:


Who was the audience for the London ePrix event when I checked?


Racing eSports Lack of Audience (Photo: Twitch)

Racing eSports Lack of Audience (Photo: Twitch)