NBA 2K League inks sponsorship deal with State Farm

It’s the first non-endemic sponsorship for the nascent league.

Image via NBA 2K League

The NBA 2K League has added to its impressive array of sponsorship agreements with a new partnership with insurance provider State Farm.

The first-of-its-kind league had previously announced several partnerships with technology companies like Dell, Twitch, HyperX, and Intel, after which the league’s New York studio is named. But this is the first major partnership agreement 2K League has reached with a company not directly tied to gaming or esports.

As an official partner, State Farm will present pregame segments called “Game Mode” that capture strategy and insights from players. State Farm will also have a weekly highlights segment called “Game Time” on NBA2KLeague.com.

“As a longstanding partner of the NBA and the WNBA, State Farm has a proven history of authentically connecting with fans and has demonstrated a commitment to eSports,” said Brendan Donohue, Managing Director of the NBA 2K League. “We’re excited for State Farm to engage with our NBA 2K League community through helping create unique content and compelling storylines about our players.”

Sponsoring sports leagues has been a major part of State Farm’s advertising and branding strategy for years. The company’s commercials featuring NBA superstar Chris Paul have become commonplace during basketball broadcasts.

Those relationships have slowly started extending to esports. Earlier this year, State Farm began sponsoring the League of Legends NA LCS analyst desk. Competitor GEICO partnered with North American esports organization TSM in 2015.

Even though the NBA 2K League is very new in the space, this is a tremendous sign of its growth potential. Viewership on the league’s Twitch channel has hovered around 1,000 at the start of the inaugural season. As that number grows, more sponsors could be drawn to the space.

The deal also highlights the acquisition muscle that the NBA may have thrown into the mix. The NBA may be new to esports, but in terms of league operations more generally its experience is unmatched. Its experience in areas like sponsorships could give the NBA 2K League a leg up against its competition.