Why do brands get into esports? The same reason they get into anything: To make money. But they don’t make their money from esports directly, in fact they sink a ton of cash into whatever event, team or organisation they’re working with in order to make money vicariously (GLHF: Sick word.) through them.
Let’s be a little more clear on how that works when it comes to events. A brand sponsors an event. The event goes well and everyone loves it. They see the brand’s sexy logo all over the event and they feel slightly more positive about said brand. Next time they’re shopping for a product or service offered by that brand, they’re more likely to choose it over others.
That’s the super simple version of how this works. Give events money for branding rights, make money down the line because of it.
What that means for event hosts hoping to attract brands as sponsors is that they need to make damn sure that everyone attending their event walks away with a smile on their face. That means players, guests, production, talent, everyone.
Because one bad story coming out of an event can mean a brand’s entire investment gained them a grand total of sweet (bad word) all. Hang on a sec while we do some maths… Yeah, that’s not good for a brand. And it means they’re unlikely to jump back on the esports bandwagon again, at least not with the same event host.
Now you may be asking yourself, ‘Why are GLHF telling me this? I’m just here to read about rad local esports things. And hopefully see a hilarious video of Geemax and Tiny auditioning for MettleState.’ *Fake cough* Anthrax has it and won’t share it with us. We don’t know why he hates you guys, we love you.
But the question we asked for you is a good one. Why are we telling you this? Because we want to make sure organisations hosting events continue to improve and attract bigger and better brands to this thing called esports that we all love.
Let’s be honest, it’s not easy being an event host. You have to balance the limited budget you’re given to run your event between putting on a top class production, satisfying the demanding spectators and taking care of the players. Oh, and getting your sponsors the return they were promised, whether it be views, impressions, feet through the door, whatever. It’s tough and it’s a lot of work.
So here is the point: If you’re going to put in all of that time and effort to put on a world class production, which local events are starting to deliver, do not waste it all by trying to cut a corner or save a buck. Because at the end of the day it’s going to cost you, or your sponsors, more.
And so we come to the Mythic Mistake, and the title of the article will finally make sense to you. (GLHF: The smarter ones probably knew where this was going.)
A few weeks ago Mythic Gaming’s Dota side qualified for a DGL Masters LAN. All the Masters teams attending the event have a large chunk of their expenses covered. But Mythic Gaming are not a Masters side, so the DGL thought it would be okay to not pay for them to attend the LAN, leaving them to pay their own way.
Sitting wherever you are now reading this, we’re sure that previous paragraph doesn’t sit well with you. It didn’t sit well with us. And it sure didn’t sit well the social media crusade that wanted justice from the DGL.
The DGL (or their next incarnation, VS Gaming) are an event host. They are lucky enough to have a sponsor that is invested in them and will continue to support them in the form of Telkom. Telkom has an image problem in South Africa, it’s safe to say that people are not big fans.
But their work and investment in local esports has done massive amounts to repair that image, certainly among esports fans. And that investment has been huge. The million rand prizepool from last year and even more this year are only the tip of the iceberg, because putting on events is expensive. Which begs the question, why in cyberspace would the DGL or Telkom allow a situation to arise where all that hard work and investment would instantly be undone?
Let’s break it down. Drops sick beat… Jokes. This is a work breakdown, not a fun breakdown.
The DGL is a marketing platform for Telkom. They put a ton of money into the DGL to try and convince people to use Telkom products. Then they make the Mythic Mistake and undo all the positive brand work they’ve done and nullify all the money they’ve spent. That is not good business. Let alone good event planning.
Now we could copy and paste some of the posts people were making about the Mythic Mistake to prove to you it wasn’t a good idea, but we like to keep this website relatively PG, and a couple of the comments were not for under 18s.
A few days later the DGL announced that they would in fact be paying for Mythic Gaming to attend the event, but, as they say, the damage was already done. Now that they’re doing what they should have in the first place doesn’t make everything right again. Everyone is still left with the memory that you had to be convinced to pay for a team to attend your event.
So what’s the lesson to be learned here? You know we love a good lesson.
Every time you host an event, be it online, LAN or some other new thing we don’t even know about yet, your reputation and that of the brands sponsoring you are on the line. Do not make decisions solely based on what you committed to do or what you had previously budgeted to do. In the long run, as with Telkom and the DGL, it might end up costing you more.
Rather make decisions based on what the right thing to do is. What will make your event and your sponsors come out looking better. Look at unexpected things that pop up as an opportunity to further improve the image of your sponsors. That’s just good marketing.
On top of that, the public hate it when someone gets screwed or has an injustice done to them. You don’t want to be on the bad side of the public. Again, that’s marketing 101. So, when you’re hosting an event in the future, remember the Mythic Mistake and never repeat it.