It’s rare that big companies outside of esports to take the plunge and invest their sponsorship dollar in teams. However earlier today, three of the world’s biggest esports teams acquired a new heavy hitting corporate sponsor: Taiwanese phone manufacturer HTC.
Cloud9, Team Liquid, and Team SoloMid all announced partnerships with HTC today in a series of coordinated statements. Though no details of the terms have been announced, Cloud9 described HTC as a “premier” sponsor.
HTC join organisations like Nissan, Coca-Cola and American Express in signing esports sponsorship deals.
Though HTC was once the market leader in handset sales in the U.S., and led the way on the development of Android phones in particular, increased competition from companies like Sony and Samsung has meant that the company has found itself pushed out in recent years. HTC’s first quarter results for 2013 showed its year-over-year profit drop by 98.1 percent.
Despite this, HTC boasts an impressive portfolio of sports sponsorship agreements. Since 2014, HTC has been a sponsor of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.
The three teams will also publish a series of collaborative videos that will be produced in partnership with HTC, which will feature players from all three teams together.
“HTC coming on board with Cloud9 is a huge moment for the team as one of our first major non-gaming sponsors,” Cloud9 said in a statement on its website, “With partnerships on this level and HTC being one of the most respected technology brands worldwide, esports as a whole is reaching exciting new heights of legitimacy.”
“HTC’s support and philosophy is important not only for TSM but for all of eSports,” Team SoloMid said in its statement, “We are excited because in a realm where traditional media shy away from anything gaming, HTC’s support in our new and growing scene reinforce that we are here to stay.”