Excel Sports to Help Activision Blizzard Identify OWL, CDL Deals
Activision Blizzard has hired Excel Sports Management to find new sponsorship deals for the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League, adding heft to the game publisher’s efforts to land more partnerships with brands eyeing esports. The two sides are just starting to meet and figure out what categories to go after; Excel says it will look for both non-endemic and endemic sponsors.
Excel Senior VP & Head of Properties Jason Miller told Sports Business Journal that this is his agency’s biggest deal yet in esports. He also noted the agency has taken an increasing interest in the space in recent months due to more focus on competitive gaming during the pandemic shutdown. Miller added that Excel will tailor its approach toward what a brand wants. In some cases, the agency may pitch a deal with both OWL and CDL, but in other cases it may be for just one or the other.
OWL and CDL are two of the most prominent esports leagues to try the franchising system, which has in turn attracted investment from many stick-and-ball team owners.
“We’ve been dabbling in the space and gaining an understanding of it, and at the end of the day, we have to familiarize ourselves with the nuances,” Miller said. “Sponsorship selling is about storytelling and creating a narrative. With esports, one thing we’re finding is it’s even more important to do authentic storytelling, because if you don’t, this audience will troll you.” Current sponsors of OWL include State Farm, T-Mobile, Xfinity, and Cheez-It. Current sponsors of CDL include Mtn Dew Amp Game Fuel, PlayStation, and the U.S. Air Force.
Activision VP/Global Partner Development Jack Harari told SBJ: “Combining Excel’s resources with our own industry-leading Partnership Development team will lead to continued success and unique opportunities for brands within the Activision Blizzard Esports ecosystem.” Excel, which has offices in N.Y., Miami, and L.A., is a major player in the traditional sports agency space, representing talent, brands and properties and having twice won a Sports Business Award for Best in Talent Representation & Management.
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