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Razer now sponsors 20 different esports teams as it further pushes its effort to associate its products with top-level gaming.
Denial Esports, a pro club that competes in multiple games, announced a deal today that will immerse its players in Razer products. The squads will use Razer keyboards, mice, headsets, and mats while playing in tournaments for MOBAs League of Legends and Smite, two of the competitive gaming’s most popular online strategy titles. For events featuring Xbox One’s Halo sci-fi shooter, Denial will now use Razer’s Wildcat gamepad. But the collaboration only starts with competitions — the hardware and software manufacturer is also planning to provide audio and video equipment to Denial for their team and personal livestreams. Esports is a $748 million business largely due to sponsorships like this one. But for Razer, a team deal like this one is about reaching a massive audience of esports fans who are willing to spend money on products to use the same gear as their favorite pros.
Esports is turning into a massive business for marketers and sponsors. Millions of people tune in to watch tournaments featuring the top players of military shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or League of Legends. Over the last 10 month, livestreaming site Twitch’s 100 million viewers watched more than 800 million hours of esports. And the audience for these events are primarily in the key advertising demographic of men ages 13 through 34.
For Razer, this is all fits into a strategy that goes back to the start of the last decade. In 2000, the company sponsored Quake pro Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel, who was the first breakout star of competitive gaming. Back then, the company was primarily marketing its gaming mouse. Today, its suite of products is a lengthy list that covers just about every possible gamer need. For example, Razer is providing Denial with its Stargazer webcam, its Seiren Pro microphone, its Ripsaw capture card, and its Razer Cortex: Gamecaster software for creating video content.
In July 2015, Street Fighter V pro Momochi had to forfeit a round at the Evo fighting-game tournament when his Razer fightstick malfunctioned in the middle of a match. While Razer no longer sponsored Momochi and his Evil Geniuses team at that point, public equipment failure like that can still lead to a poor reputation. But Razer handled that embarrassing moment with class, and its newest deal with Denial shows it isn’t backing away from esports.
Correction: Razer no longer sponsored Momochi at the time of the equipment failure. I apologize for the error.
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