Paysafe Partners with Riot Games’ VALORANT Esports EMEA for 2024 and 2025!

Paysafe Partners with Riot Games’ VALORANT Esports EMEA for 2024 and 2025!

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Betting and gambling companies have been using the Internet and online culture to connect with young adult demographics, and direct traffic towards their modern mobile apps and websites. The growth of the online industry has given these companies the chance to revolutionise their product, and how they obtain new customers.

Esports Charts presents a list of the largest gambling and betting companies currently involved with gaming and esports in 2024, as well as some of the most influential partnerships and sponsors that these companies have brought to the screens of millions.

These companies have been a sight in the esports scene for over a decade, and their influence and position within esports and livestreaming has only continued to grow. The growth of the cryptocurrency industry also affected betting and gambling, with an overlap emerging between these two areas. Crypto-gambling is a relatively new idea to the industry, but there are still examples of this kind of product sponsored within esports.

In 2024, there is no end to the various betting and gambling brands associated with esports teams, organizations, livestreamed events, and more. One clear trend emerging from these partnerships is that Counter-Strike is a prime esports title for these partnerships. The game’s large Western audience combined with Valve’s slightly detached relationship with its esports titles made CS2 one of the brightest esports opportunities for investments.

“Esports and betting companies form a natural partnership, appealing to technology-friendly audiences and deeply entrenched in competitive gaming. Sports betting companies consider the esports industry particularly interesting due to its rapid and continuous growth, large and enthusiastic fan base, and the diverse betting opportunities it offers. A big part of the esports industry maintains firm relationships with sponsors such as bookmakers, which enhance viewer engagement, contribute to the event experiences and drive future growth through strategic partnerships.” – Denis Matusovskiy, Sales & Partnerships Manager at Esports Charts.

On the livestreaming side, Kick is backed by Stake .com co-founders Bijan Tehrani and Ed Craven. Although Stake as a company isn’t directly connected to Kick, the influence is clear. The two companies entered a joint partnership of a Formula 1 team this year, with Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber emerging to compete in the 2024 F1 championship.

Kings League, one of the most-watched livestreamed sports series of the year, partnered with betting brand Sportium to sponsor their 2024 Kings World Cup event. Between Kick and the Kings League, betting and gambling companies have thoroughly exposed their brands to a Latin American audience.

As of this year, Ukrainian betting company GG.Bet is involved with not only Natus Vincere, Ukraine’s leading esports organization, but they have also partnered with BLAST Premier. BLAST is a Danish esports production company that operates as one of Counter-Strike’s best and organizes both official Majors, and their own tournament series. GG.Bet has been one of three sponsors of their BLAST Premier tournament series throughout 2024, which reached 610.1K Peak Viewers at the BLAST Premier: Spring Final 2024, according to Esports Charts.

Another one of Counter-Strike’s most successful companies, ESL FACEIT Group partnered with 1xBet for sponsorship across multiple esports games. 1xBet sponsors the Intel Extreme Masters series in Counter-Strike, which is organized by ESL, and the ESL Pro Tour in Dota 2. This sponsorship deal gives 1xBet exposure to a massive Western esports audience across all of Counter-Strike’s and Dota 2’s competitive regions. The Saudi-owned company agreed to the deal despite gambling being prohibited in Saudi Arabia, a key example of the open attitude many companies show towards gambling and betting partners.

Although ESL FACEIT Group is receptive to betting sponsorships, not all areas of the esports industry are as clean-cut. Riot Games is strictly against gambling sponsors across all their esports scenes in League of Legends and Valorant, and Epic Studios has decided against allowing these companies into their spheres. Not all is dark for the betting and gambling industry, as Activision opened up the Call of Duty League to them in recent years, and there is still a large North American audience for them in esports.

FaZe Clan was recently sponsored by DraftKings, following DraftKings co-founder Matt Kalish’s acquisition of a 49% stake in FaZe. DraftKings already  sponsored FaZe Clan a couple of years ago, but this agreement represents their stake in the new era of the company. On the side of crypto casinos, Betify signed a multi-year deal with esports organization Fnatic only three months ago. The seven-figure deal will see the two companies collaborate together on video content and creator activations, along with Betify’s logo featuring on Fnatic’s jersey.

Even in Asia, Indonesian esports organization BOOM Esports partnered with MelBet, despite gambling and online betting being illegal in Indonesia. Companies are confident, even if the local region of an esports team is not a prime audience for a partnership, the teams’ appearance on stage at international events will be successful for brand exposure.

Gambling companies have a long history of partnering with various esports teams, the above graphic is a list of recent deals in the esports and livestreaming industry, not necessarily current ones. Betway is one of the longest-standing sponsors of esports, with the team previously being involved with one of the most renowned Dota 2 teams, PSG.LGD, and historic Counter-Strike organization Ninjas in Pyjamas. The company also previously sponsored BLAST Premier events, before GG.Bet took over. Betway is currently partnered with G2 Esports, one of the world’s most popular esports organizations with teams across a wide array of games.

“Esports teams often partner with betting companies for crucial financial support and enhanced brand exposure. Such sponsorships provide much-needed resources for player salaries and other operational expenses, while also boosting visibility through promotional activities. However, such partnerships often come with regulatory challenges, potential reputational risks, and dependency on external factors, for example, changing gambling laws. Navigating such issues is vital to ensuring sustainable growth and maintaining a positive image within the esports community.” – Denis Matusovskiy, Sales & Partnerships Manager at Esports Charts.

BetBoom, which has sparked controversy in the industry due to its operations in Crimea, has been heavily involved with esports for many years now. The company not only has their own esports team competing in Counter-Strike, Dota 2, and PUBG: Battlegrounds, but they have also sponsored their own esports events. BetBoom partnered with FISSURE to host BetBoom Dacha events across both Counter-Strike and Dota 2. BetBoom Dacha Dubai 2024 was the most popular of these events, reaching 360.9K Peak Viewers, according to Esports Charts.

FaZe Clan announced a multi-million dollar deal with Rollbit at the beginning of 2024, predating their agreement with DraftKings. The company became a global partner of FaZe Clan’s Counter-Strike roster, which was ranked as the world’s best team at the time of the deal. Esports organization OG was previously partnered with Fun88 as their global betting partner, but the organization has now moved on and signed a deal with 1xBet, the organization’s current official partner. MOUZ is also currently partnered with FONBET, who is focused on expanding their market positions in Europe and Asia according to MOUZ’ Partners page.

Companies in the betting and gambling industry will sponsor esports and livestreamed events however they can. Even in 2020, when Fnatic was one of the world’s leading teams in multiple esports titles, the esports organization was signing game-specific deals. Fnatic announced a partnership in 2020 with Parimatch, exclusively to sponsor their CS2 team, as Riot Games did not allow these kinds of partnerships in League of Legends.

Although not all corners of the esports industry are totally welcoming to gambling and betting sponsorships, many other areas are happy to take these partnerships. Dota 2 and CS2 are the two leading esports games for these kinds of deals, thanks to their large Western audience. Follow Esports Charts for more insights towards esports viewership, and the industry as a whole.

 Author: Iarfhlaith Dempsey, Editor at Esports Charts & Streams Charts