Intel FutureGen 2024 Visit SPORTFIVE

"Have you ever spotted video game characters plastered on the packaging of seemingly unrelated snack brands in the supermarket, and wondered how those collaborations ever came to be?" Jess, from the Intel FutureGen 2024 cohort, gives us the scoop.

Thanks to the 2024 Intel FutureGen programme, I had the opportunity to visit the SPORTFIVE office in Salford, where I sneaked a behind-the-scenes peek at how all these fascinating- and often unexpected brand partnerships come to life.

SPORTFIVE is a global sports marketing agency with a dedicated esports and gaming department. During our visit, the staff there introduced us to how their company works to connect a huge variety of brands to the esports and gaming world. Esports and gaming has a massive, lively audience- an audience that many brands would like to reach. The value of this cannot be understated- indeed, sponsorships form the majority of revenue for esports. 

Essentially, marketing agencies like SPORTFIVE work with different rights holders and game publishers such as Riot Games and EA to seek out potential sponsors and brands. Some examples of such successful partnerships include KitKat and EMEA Masters League of Legends tournament, where they incorporate the ‘have a break’ tagline during in-game breaks, alongside special edition KitKat branded hextech chests (in-game loot boxes). Another example the staff showed us was a partnership between Uber Eats and Activation Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, where they came up with the idea of the character Orderyn. Working with numerous World of Warcraft content creators, streamers would take turns playing as Orderyn, an in-game food courier who wears UberEats-inspired uniform, and deliver food to players live on stream.

In addition to showing us the workings of SPORTFIVE, a few of the staff also shared how their journey into esports and the company progressed since leaving education. Interestingly, the staff come from a range of academic backgrounds including law and engineering. They emphasised that a career in the esports and gaming industry is less about your degree subject but more about developing a useful skill set with an end goal in mind- whether it be marketing, commercial, creative, or event management. Even if you are in a non-traditional environment, there are always opportunities to build upon these specific skill sets to make yourself a strong candidate. 

At the end of the day, we listened to a helpful presentation given by SPORTFIVE’s HR staff. We learnt about the importance of making our job applications personal and tailored by identifying a company’s values and aligning ourselves to them. We also learnt how to prepare for and conduct ourselves during interviews.

Overall, I enjoyed my visit at the SPORTFIVE office very much (and not just because they treated us to tasty sweet treats!). It was incredibly interesting to learn what goes on behind these seemingly unusual brand partnerships and gain an insight into this sector of the esports and gaming industry. I am so thankful for all the opportunities I have had through the Intel FutureGen programme and strongly encourage everyone to apply to be part of next year’s cohort!


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