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TLA Worldwide has been appointed as exclusive sponsorship sales agency for the Oceanic Pro League, the largest eSports competition in Australia.
Sponsorship News has learnt that TLA (formerly ESP) has been appointed by the OPL's rights-holder, Riot Games Oceania, to work on strategy and partnership acquisition.
Riot owns League of Legends, which has more than 100 million monthly players globally, making it one of the world’s largest video game publisher/developers.
The OPL is a twice-annual, top-tier competition for League of Legends, with eight semi-professional teams. The most recent season of the OPL attracted more than 350,000 viewers across its four months, with its core demographic lying between 16-24 years of age.
TLA will work with Riot on a partnerships program to be modeled on existing professional sport sponsorship, according to Riot's Oceania country manager, Daniel Ringland.
"[TLA] not only has considerable experience in the traditional sporting world, but also understands the esports world. They understand both the differences and the similarities between the two industries so we're excited to work together to find partners," he said.
The OPL has drawn the bulk of investment from external sports marketers – AFL side Adelaide acquired OPL team Legacy eSports earlier this year and has promised to invest and broaden the league's appeal.
At least two other OPL teams have received investment from sports marketing interests – Abyss eSports was bought out by Executive Sports and Entertainment (part-owned by Rugby League World Cup commercial chief Rohan Sawyer) in June, while Dire Wolves is owned by Guinevere Capital, a sports investment firm led by former NRL and Gemba executive Dave Harris.
TLA is the latest agency to branch into the eSports space. Most notably, sports and entertainment specialist Gemba has built up a strong track record in the sector, with clients such as St George Bank and McDonald's in the process of rolling out eSports campaigns.