This week Esports powerhouse, Team Liquid, confirmed a partnership with the PFL (Professional Fighters League). The PFL is a MMA competitive that has a regular season format for fighters which then leads into playoffs and a championship fight.
This partnership means that select professional players from Team Liquid will act as ambassadors of the PFL, their CS:GO player Twistzz will be ringside at the PFL Championship on the 31st December.
This is what Victor Goosens, the founder and CEO of Team Liquid had to say after announcing the partnership:
“At Team Liquid we seek out innovative partnerships that allow us to explore new spaces. I fell in love with MMA 15 years ago when I was a pro Starcraft player living in Seoul – I see a lot of the same core values between our organizations with a focus on entertainment, competitive sports format and athlete-first culture”.
This isn’t the first time an Esports organisation has held a partnership with a traditional sports athlete or organisation. In the past we have seen American Football player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Juju Smith-Schuster, work in collaboration with Faze Clan by wearing their apparel on game days and training sessions.
Another example of this would be Optic Gaming when picked up a mixed martial artist Sean O’Malley, they see this as an option to branch out and gain additional exposure to the brand in a new industry, but Sean also enjoyed streaming regularly whilst playing the game of his choice, making the partnership beneficial for both parties.
With Esports becoming more apparently popular in conjunction with traditional sports teams and players, we can expect to see more partnerships being built in 2019. Some Esports organisation have been bought out by traditional sports teams’ owners to help with acquiring the budgets for franchised leagues so having this expertise from successful brand running alongside those that have helped grow Esports from day 1 has great potential for the industry.