Brazilian esports organization INTZ announced a 100% sponsorship renewal rate for 2021. All brands that have been partnered with the team in 2020 have signed another year-long contract. This includes the internet services company ExitLag, Monster Energy, gaming chairs manufacturer DXRacer, Logitech, payments app PicPay, clothing brand Lupo, and supplements brand Whiz. Whiz sponsored INTZ in 2020 as “Vem, Vida” brand, but went under a recent rebranding process to focus specifically on the gamer audience.
The exception is LG, which had signed a two-year sponsorship in 2020 and will continue in 2021 under the same contract, which grants the full structure of INTZ’s gaming facility. INTZ Head of Partnerships Chico Tattini spoke with The Esports Observer regarding his work to keep brands close and interested in investing in the organization:
“Sometimes we who work with esports know what we represent and the size we have in our community. And we settle on that while the brands are not really included or aware of our world. My job is to bring these brands to our context, and I’m glad that brands supporting INTZ can feel that they are part of this world and of the organization,” he says, “we understand the necessities of our partners and they understand ours, and we try to help each other focusing on those necessities.”
Tattini also mentioned the challenges faced in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which made INTZ seek alternatives to keep its partners in engaged: “Everything happened really fast, suddenly everything stopped, there weren’t media days or photoshoots, the tournaments stopped for a while, so our deliveries got damaged. But at a certain point, we needed to stop saying ‘no’ and try to find alternatives to promote our sponsors even in the pandemics, seeking to understand their necessities and fit them in good deliveries for both sides. That’s where we started to find alternatives, like promoting Lupo’s facemasks and joining an equipment sanitization campaign with LG.”
TEO then asked how important the INTZ fans are for the success of the sponsorships deals, or to overcome challenges like the one the pandemic put the organization against. Tattini began his answer by mentioning that, in 2019, INTZ was second place at The Game Shakers awards, organized by the Esports BAR Cannes, for community engagement: “When we start to engage something, even in an organic way inside the organization, like highlighting that we are drinking Monster Energy, the fans join us on that, because the scenario understands that the brands are part of the engine that keep their favorite teams and players up.
“So it is not just a one-way relationship that only we give to the audience, the audience also gives something back to us,” says Tattini, mentioning that the “intrépido,” as the INTZ supporter is called, was with the team in the many really good and bad phases the team passed in the last tournaments: “This seesaw of emotions gets the fan closer because he is passional. You don’t choose which team you will support based on its balance sheet, you choose it for the emotions it provides.”
This vision, Tattini says, comes from its origins in the traditional sports market. Before joining INTZ about three years ago, he worked at a sports-focused agency that had the esports organization as a client: “When you’re an agency, you have to go with the flow, work accordingly with the requests of the client or the brand. Now as an organization, I have the responsibility of exploring everything, every product that INTZ has to offer, and be a real part of the scenario.”
To provide us with an example, he mentioned an unusual vision he has at his job, applied to the players and faces of INTZ he works with: “I tell them to not get me wrong, but at the first moment when someone gets in INTZ, I see ‘little products.’ I try to get to know their characteristics, personalities, what they have that is exclusive to them, and so I can fit them in the best actions possible both for this person and for our partners.”
Tattini also shares his insights for the whole business world in esports: “Each organization has its own characteristics, some are stronger on competitions while others have its main strength in media power. It is important to understand how an organization will fit with each partner’s expectations, and also remember that you cannot deal with endemic and non-endemic brands the same way, because it is completely different. Sometimes the person in charge of a company won’t be interested in talking with you, and your job will be to give the analyst or assistant, who believes the project, the tools and the confidence to foster the idea of investing in an esports organization.”
Back to the recent sponsorship renewals by INTZ, TEO asked Tattini about the length of the contracts, which are all only for one year. He said that, considering the recently acquired spot in the Brazilian League of Legends Championship (CBLoL) franchise, there is an interest in closing longer contracts, but the one-year-long deals do not bother him: “It is a natural thing, part of our job. If a brand says it is not ready to close a longer deal, who am I to force? If you feel uncomfortable asking every year your partners for renewal, maybe something is wrong. If you didn’t solve the issues during the partnership time, they will surely come up when mentioning the renewal.”
The financial details on the renew deals were not disclosed, but Tattini revealed that the agreement with ExitLag was amplified with increased investment, while the one with Logitech had a readjustment on the expected deliveries for both parts and the addition of automatic renewal. He also said that a still undisclosed worldwide-known brand is to be signed as a new sponsor in the next few days.
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