NETGEAR, the global computer networking company based in San Jose, California, has announced that it is expanding its partnership with Gen.G (formerly KSV eSports). NETGEAR will now sponsor all of Gen.G’s teams, which include League of Legends, PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS, Heroes of the Storm, and Clash Royale.
NETGEAR will provide all teams with networking hardware and software by its Nighthawk Pro Gaming brand.
Photo Credit: NETGEARvideo
“Gen.G teams and players are among the most competitive, talented and professional in the esports industry,” said Kevin Chou, CEO and Co-founder of Gen.G. “Expanding our sponsorship with NETGEAR opens all kinds of new opportunities for our organization. We plan to utilize its high-performance gear to set the Gold Standard for premier esports competition, entertainment and fan engagement.”
Originally, NETGEAR’s partnership was limited to the Overwatch League where its gaming brand, Nighthawk Pro Gaming, was featured on the jerseys of the Seoul Dynasty (the Gen.G-owned Overwatch League team).
But since that time, Gen.G has made some intriguing moves that are likely to make it very appealing to potential sponsors.
In May 2018, KSV eSports announced that it had made a full rebrand. Going forward, the company will be known as Generation Gaming, and its teams will compete under the abbreviated title Gen.G.
According to the announcement, “”We are proud to announce the rebrand of KSV to Gen.G with a new name, logo, and vision. Our new name, Gen.G, stands for Generation Gaming – which symbolizes the redefinition of the potential of gaming by this generation. To help realize this potential, Gen.G strives to establish the gold standard of global esports to define and usher in this new era.”
That’s a powerful statement – “the redefinition of the potential of gaming by this generation” – and it sends a formidable message: Gen.G will not be content to sit on its laurels because to redefine the potential of gaming, you can’t just keep up with the crowd, you have to stay ahead of it.
Which is something that Gen.G seems intent on doing. Before the rebrand was completed, Gen.G acquired the 2017 world champion League of Legends team from Samsung in November of last year. This added a titleholding team to its existing roster of Heroes of the Storm and PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS clubs, as well as the Overwatch League team Seoul Dynasty. (All of these teams will compete under the rebranded name, logo, and colors, with the exception of Seoul Dynasty, which, due to Overwatch League rules, is required to maintain a separate brand identity).
Photo Credit: Inven Global
But, Gen.G was not finished. The group has recently announced a move into mobile esports gaming after it secured a slot in the Clash Royale League in China.
The decision to enter in the China division is particularly interesting. Gen.G is jointly owned by American and South Korean interests. While there are four Clash Royale League divisions (China, Asia [i.e., the rest of it], North America, and Europe) and Gen.G could have easily joined the North American or Asian league, they chose to join in China for one very big reason: China has a $32.5 billion gaming market. Gen.G estimates that China is not only the world’s largest mobile esports market, but it’s also the main driver for development in the segment.
“In China, there’s this massive growth of mobile, whether it’s gaming or other types of services” Kent Wakeford, Gen.G’s Co-founder and COO, said to The Esports Observer. “So many people in China have high-end phones…and you see this mobile culture in the largest population in the world…there’s this sheer magnitude that far surpasses other markets. We want to be a truly global esports company, and we now have teams playing in the three largest esports markets in the world.”
Photo Credit: Game Axis
Wakeford has an understanding of the Chinese market. He and several other members of the Gen.G executive team previously ran Kabam, a mobile game developer that was very active in China. Wakeford has said that his previous experience has allowed him to utilize previous relationships to strengthen the team’s China expansion.
Gen.G has also recently hired a head of sponsorships and revenue. Jordan Sherman has previously worked in the NBA and MLB. He intends to use his experience with traditional sports to discover new sponsorship opportunities.
“Esports is the future of professional competition and Gen.G is at the forefront of the esports industry with its global reach,” said Sherman. “I’ve seen first-hand how MLB and NBA partnerships can drive revenues and reach business objectives for our clients and I am excited for esports to further develop into the next frontier for even greater results. Connecting premier brands with Gen.G and engaging such an amazing fanbase is an incredible opportunity, and I look forward to elevating the gold standard esports experience.”
In addition to their deal with NETGEAR, Gen.G has partnerships with gaming hardware company Razer and South Korean financial services company Mirae Asset Venture Investments.
NETGEAR, meanwhile, has other esports sponsorships, including Ninjas in Pyjamas, Avant Garde, and NRG (which owns the Overwatch League team San Francisco Shock). NETGEAR also recently announced that it was launching its Nighthawk Pro Gaming brand in China, further strengthening the sponsorship potential between it and Gen.G, as both organizations have a cooperative pipeline into one of the biggest esports regions in the world.
Photo Credit: NETGEAR Community
“NETGEAR is thrilled to continue our partnership with Gen.G and to now include the entire roster of premier teams,” said Heidi Cormack, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing for NETGEAR. “This is the ideal alliance for Nighthawk Pro Gaming to align with the community that will benefit most from the high-performance hardware and game-specific software which enhance the online game-play experience. Gen.G’s passion and dedication to building a successful global esports organization makes them an ideal partner to engage the gaming community.”
Wakeford has also hinted that more announcements are on the way in 2018 as Gen.G will continue to expand into new games, with a focus on leagues and franchise models. “Because it allows us to make long-term investments in a team, in coaches, in building a fanbase,” he said.
The expansion of the Gen.G and NETGEAR sponsorship is an excellent example of an esports organization being very thoughtful in how and where it expands and a sponsor recognizing the opportunities and taking advantage in the early stages. This has great potential to be a best-case scenario for both parties.
If your brand is interested in jumping in or expanding your footprint in the esports space, there are plenty of opportunities available. Give one of our eGency Global experts a call at 972-323-6354, and we’ll find a partner that’s a perfect fit for you.