A couple of months ago, we introduced Sergii Mischenko, CEO of esports betting specialists, GG.BET UK. Sergii outlined how this new marriage, between his company and the UK audience, was potentially a perfect match. Having seen plenty of PR for the wider GG.BET group, and a real focus on brand building and awareness, we went back to Sergii and asked him to summarise the journey so far.
Sponsorship & Partnership
“Since GG.BET was founded, the brand has employed tried-and-tested sports marketing approaches. Then, in 2018, we started sponsoring esports tournaments.
“Around the same time, the company entered into its first partnership agreements with the Natus Vincere, Alliance and NoPangolier esports teams. This approach has definitely led to increased brand awareness and we continue to develop our partnerships today, but on a much larger scale.
“GG.BET sponsored the qualifiers for The International and the CS:GO Majors and according to HLTV’s world ranking, our partner esports organisations, Natus Vincere and Team Vitality, both number among the Top 10.
“GG.BET also sponsors tournament broadcasts in different languages. Our partners include Maincast, the largest broadcast studio in Eastern Europe, and the Brazilian streamer Gaules, who has four million followers.”
“Over time, we began to develop content projects. High-quality content allows the brand to reach players all over the world, and during the pandemic this was one of the few ways that we could continue actively expanding.
“To understand what the audience is looking for, and to find common ground with them, we have employed a two-pronged approach. Firstly, we consider what we would like to watch, or what we would like to know about esports. This is how we had the idea for the GG.GO NEXT film, which follows one of Natus Vincere’s most mind-blowing seasons yet.
“Secondly, we seek out esports talents and enhance their content. This is how GG.BET came to work with Andrew Jenkins, the renowned commentator and analyst who creates humorous Dota 2 content, as well as reviews of games for Tik-Tok and YouTube Shorts.
“These videos combine two of Andrew’s great strengths, comedy and analysis. When GG.BET first launched the Talking Esports podcast in 2022, it was with Jenkins. We immediately realised that the format was really interesting and organic, and it led to a whole series of episodes with famous esports personalities.
Filling the information vacuum
“When looking for new approaches, one of the key things our team discovered was that esports fans are facing an information vacuum. This means that there is untapped demand. They follow the achievements of their favourite sports players and teams, discuss roster changes and dream of getting their idol’s autograph. Just like in traditional sports.
“But as it stands, there is no real culture of real-life communication in the esports industry, nor of meetups between teams and their fans. GG.BET saw that gap and gradually started to fill it.”
GGN: Was it after this discovery that GG.BET began hosting events for esports fans? Tell us more about how these went, and what the results were.
Sergii: “Our first event was the Tour de Rio with Team Vitality. GG.Bet teamed up with the CS:GO club roster for the Rio de Janeiro tour, which stopped at scenic locations where fans could meet the team.
“This effectively created a precedent for informal, real-life communication between the team and their audience. The feedback from Tour de Rio was extremely positive, both from Team Vitality and their fans. These types of meet-ups help build a connection between the players and their fans, which makes our community much richer and more interesting.
“The next event was GG.Gathering, which was with Natus Vincere. This was a daytime party in Rio de Janeiro, where journalists, esports talents, influencers and die-hard esports fans all came together. The event format included autograph and photo sessions with players, informal networking, a DJ set, bar and unique esports merch giveaways.
“You can watch a recap of the event on GG.BET’s YouTube channel: Recap of GG.Gathering. The audience continued to show their appreciation even after the event, with hundreds of posts across social media channels.
Building a platform for growth
“It is worth noting that this type of activity is very different to classic marketing approaches and tournament sponsorships. The results are not as black and white. This is more on the PR side of things, so it cannot be measured in site visits or active users.
“But it establishes the brand’s reputation with its audience and builds brand loyalty. It is playing the long game, but ultimately it builds a platform for development and growth.
GGN: In the summer, you hosted a showmatch between Team Vitality and Natus Vincere. What sparked this idea, and how did it go for GG.BET?
Sergii: “We simply asked ourselves what we would like to watch. Team Vitality and Natus Vincere have gone head to head multiple times in major tournament playoffs, and ZywOo and s1mple are constantly competing for the MVP tournament title. So our thinking was, what if we gave them the chance to become teammates?
“Imagine how exciting the game would be if you mixed up the rosters of these legendary teams? The aim was to host a fun match where the players could let loose and have fun, without the pressure of a tournament.
“To be honest, this was a challenging project. As the event organiser, GG.BET coordinated both teams, sourced the arena and provided all necessary technical support. But the results far surpassed all of our expectations. The event peaked at 76,000 concurrent viewers and garnered over one million total views, which is comparable to a Tier-1 tournament. On top of that, it was successful enough that all the major bookmaking operators around the world had betting lines for Match of LeGGends.”
GGN: Do you plan to use a similar approach in the UK? Is there likely to be a demand for esports events in this market, or will GG.BET be focusing on something else?
Sergii: “Although the UK is renowned for its love of traditional sports, there is already a big esports fanbase here. The UK has made a name for itself on the international esports scene with big name teams like the legendary Fnatic, who haven’t missed a single CS:GO Major. And Into The Breach, who put up a spectacular fight at the Blast Paris Major 2023.
“The League of Legends World Championship was hosted in London a few years ago, and that was a great success. So we definitely see a lot of potential for fan events in the UK. We plan to harness the brand’s global experience; we want to invest in the development of local esports communities and find new formats for interacting with them.
“GG.BET’s main goal remains unchanged – we are here to provide the absolute best experience, both in terms of esports and esports betting.”