In what could quite possibly be the first major sponsorship of its kind, Dafabet, a well-established bookmaker based out of Asia has penned a partnership with one of the oldest and most respected Esports teams out there, Fnatic.
Fnatic, formed in 2005, have become one of the largest and successful Esports teams down the years. Their current CS:GO team are sitting at the top of the CSGO pile after winning the latest major at ESL One Cologne. They will attempt to retain their title at Dreamhack Cluj, for which they are second favourites with bet365, priced at 10/3, behind EnVyUs.
We knew it would be a matter of time that a partnership like this would happen as the betting industry opens its eyes to the potential of the Esports scene. The deal will see Dafabet become one of Fnatic’s main sponsors. As part of the agreement, Fnatic will provide content and promotion for Dafabet’s Esports editorial portal which is currently in development with the aim of creating a “community for sports enthusiasts to discover and learn more about the world of Esports”.
The statement suggests that Dafabet hopes to cross-sell its existing traditional sports customers into betting on esports, which is something that has not yet been attempted by any bookmakers, and makes sense given the popularity of eSports in Asia where most of their customers are based. The fact that the deal was signed prior to the portal being ready, or Dafabet having a developed Esports betting product, suggests that there may well have been other betting companies sniffing around Fnatic for a partnership and that they needed to act quickly to secure the rights.
Dafabet’s current offering with regards to Esports betting markets are severely limited but this is something that can only improve off the back of this partnership.
This sponsorship will test the recent ESEA rule change which prohibits gambling companies from being supported by the teams that play in their leagues. Fnatic are currently taking part in the ESEA Pro League but you’d hope Fnatic won’t have any issues with the relevant authorities for promoting their new partner, if this was one of the points agreed. Their ESEA profile does not advertise any partners anyway, and in-game advertising is usually reserved for any title sponsor, which Fnatic has not had since their split from pc hardware manufacturer MSI.
Fnatic join an exclusive club of sponsored sporting teams which includes Sunderland, Everton, Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers and the entire Welsh Premier League. They also sponsor professional snooker’s Masters Tournament.
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