New Sponsor of TV’s Pro Gaming Arena Pays $2 Million

  • G Fuel’s one-year deal includes advertising, product placement
  • Turner Broadcasting, WME/IMG launched ELeague last year

The professional video gaming league created by Turner Broadcasting and WME/IMG has a new sponsor. A Long Island energy drink maker will pay $2 million in 2017, according to a person familiar with the terms of the agreement, which includes naming rights to the esports arena.

The 250-seat stadium, which doubles as a broadcast studio for Turner’s ELeague, will be called the G Fuel ELeague Arena, named after an energy drink made by Gamma Enterprises LLC. In addition, G Fuel will get advertising in the studio and during broadcasts, and product placement alongside gamers and analysts.

Though $2 million wouldn’t buy the naming rights to a major traditional sports venue, it’s not too far off. In the National Football League, M&T Bank recently extended its deal with the Baltimore Ravens for $6 million a year over 10 years, and New Era agreed to pay $5.7 million a year in a seven-year deal with the Buffalo Bills.

ELeague reached more than 35 million total viewers on TBS last year, its first, including 9 million new viewers who hadn’t recently spent time watching the network. Time Warner Inc.’s Turner Broadcasting and WME/IMG created the league precisely to attract those new viewers -- mostly young men -- who have become elusive for networks and advertisers.

“This is a pivotal time for the esports community and this partnership is in line with G Fuel’s mission in gaming,” Cliff Morgan, Gamma Labs chief executive officer, said in a statement. Other sponsors for the 2017 ELeague season include Dell Inc. subsidiary Alienware, which makes the computers used in competition, and headset-maker HyperX, a division of Kingston Technology.

The partnership begins this weekend, when ELeague hosts its first major event of the year, a 16-team Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament with a $1 million purse. The early stages will be held in ELeague’s arena.

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