Deutsche Telekom, the telecoms giant, has taken a 25% stake in SK Gaming, a German e-sports organisation for which it has been a sponsor and technology partner since mid-2018.

It joins two other brands in holding a 25% stake each – Mercedes-Benz and Bundesliga team FC Köln – alongside founder and chief executive Alexander Müller who holds the remaining 25%.

“Our acquisition underlines the importance and value that Telekom places on esports and gaming,” said Hiro Kishi, head of sports sponsorship at Telekom Deutschland.

“Our networks, products and services provide the best possible environment for the e-sports and gaming community,” he explained, adding: “SK Gaming is the perfect partner with whom we can cooperate to shape the market into the future.”

SK Gaming stressed that its investors are strategic, not financial. “With Deutsche Telekom, we intend to further develop the e-sports sector, and in some ways to redefine it,” stated Müller.

SK Gaming currently runs professional teams in games like League of Legends, FIFA, and Clash Royale and has built two intensive training centres in Berlin and Cologne.

Mercedes-Benz and Bundesliga team FC Köln invested in SK Gaming in January this year. At that time, Bettina Fetzer, Vice President Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars explained the rationale: “We are fascinated not only by the enthusiasm of a very young and digital generation for the topic, but also by the completely new way of media consumption and communication within the target group.

“We want to be part of this communication – open, authentic and on an equal footing,” she said.

Not only are e-sports fans typically younger, in the coveted 18-35 demographic, but, notes Sam Grimley, Commercial Director at GumGum Sports, the digital nature of e-sports makes the value of sponsorship more directly and accurately measurable.

It’s a complicated ecosystem, however, in which game publishers, leagues, competitions, platforms, ‘teams’/organisations and players/influencers may all be looking for sponsorship money. (For more, read his WARC Best Practice paper: Pay to play: The e-sports opportunity for sponsors.)

Sourced from The Esports Observer; additional content by WARC staff