Asian-facing online gambling operator Dafabet has inked a new sponsorship deal with UK-based pro eSports organization Fnatic.
The deal will make Dafabet one of the main sponsors for all of Fnatic’s eSports teams. Fnatic will also provide content and promotion for Dafabet’s in-development eSports editorial portal, which is intended to create “a community for sports enthusiasts to discover and learn more about the world of eSports.”
Dafabet currently offers a limited number of eSports betting markets but the rest of the industry is clearly catching on that there’s money to be made. This week, Sky Betting & Gaming launched its own Betgenius-powered eSports betting offering, joining the likes of Unikrn, VitalBet, Betway and others in the eSports betting business.
John Cruces, Dafabet’s head of sports marketing, said the company was looking forward to seeing its logo on the shirts of Fnatic’s team members as they compete in upcoming live eSports tournaments. Fnatic’s teams have been among the dominant forces on the pro eSports circuit since the organization launched in 2004.
This isn’t Fnatic’s first brush with an online gambling sponsor, having inked a pact with French online poker operator Winamax in 2013. Regardless, Fnatic CEO Wouter Sleijffers called the Dafabet deal “a first in eSports and will be part of how we can develop the all-round experience of eSports as is already common in other sports.”
Jason Hutcheson, Dafabet’s head of eSports, said his company was “passionate” about the eSports industry’s growth and was “proud to be the first online betting provider to sponsor an eSports team.” (This ‘first’ ignores daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings, which has sponsored multiple eSports teams, including American side Counter Logic Gaming, but then daily fantasy sports isn’t betting. Ahem.)
Dafabet’s sponsorship efforts have primarily been focused on UK football, with the operator counting Sunderland AFC, Everton, Blackburn Rovers and the Welsh Premier League among its sponsorship scalps. Dafabet also sponsors pro snooker’s Masters tournament. But Dafabet’s Asian focus melds nicely with eSports, interest in which is currently dominated by Asian countries, although western countries are slowly catching on.