Digital advertising agency Modop has launched a partnership with The Agency for Professional Esports (APE), a talent agency for professional esports players. Under the new partnership, Modop will match APE’s clients with brands to expand esports sponsorships. This will enable brands to reach the key audiences of esports athletes and influencers, the companies said. Market researcher SuperData Research expects esports to be a $1.2 billion market by 2019.

“Professional gamers are the next generation of athletes. Children whose parents had Michael Jordan, David Beckham and Tiger Woods are looking at esports athletes in the same way, as future sports celebrities. Recognizing this unique vision, we are working with Modop to help connect brands with this valuable audience in the most human way possible,” said Jason Moore, president of APE, in a statement.

Over 213 million people watched professional esports competitions in 2016 with major events in sports venues like Staples Center and KeyArena selling out in 24 hours. As the esports platform continues to grow, the stars of esports have accumulated immense social media followings and become as well known in younger demographic categories as mainstream athletes.

Modop

Above: Modop President Jeff Suhy

Image Credit: Modop

Founded in partnership with veteran League of Legends player Alberto “Crumbz” Rengifo and Jason Moore, the former president of Paris Hilton Entertainment, APE is entering the arena as the first esports athlete agency focusing on athletes within the esports world that are being increasingly sought after for sponsorship opportunities, committed to evolving the athletes in non-endemic markets.

“Modop is always looking at trends that are emerging over the next 12 months to help our clients get ahead of the curve in breaking through the clutter to reach new audiences quickly and efficiently, and APE’s roster provides a palette of unique personalities with huge followings that are perfect for our roster of brands,” said Modop President Jeff Suhy, in a statement.

Modop’s broad client list includes game companies (including EA, Warner Brothers, Sony PlayStation) and tech clients (including Akamai and Intel) as well as broadcasters (such as E!, Seeso and NBCUniversal).