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Published: May 14, 2021

Written by: Edward Pearcey

  • The OWL and CDL are reportedly warming up to the idea of esports betting and alcohol brands being sponsors
  • It would seem the two leagues are seeking some stronger sponsorship in order to expand
  • The London Royal Ravens team already got at it by signing a deal with bookmaker platform Midnite

Two of the most prominent leagues are opening up to sponsorship from betting and alcohol companies. What does that mean for esports?

Bookmakers and Alcohol Producers to Enter the Big Leagues

Accepting sponsorship from bookmakers and liquor brands has been long considered off-limits for the Overwatch League and the Call of Duty League. However, according to a report from The Esports Observer, the two leagues may be reconsidering their stances and warming up to the possibilities gambling and alcohol companies can bring to esports.

This comes as a 180 degree turn as Activision Blizzard, the company that is in charge of both leagues, has been known to be opposed to liquor and bookmaker brands’ presence. There were some exceptions, like the OWL receiving support from the American-style beer Bud Light but usually teams were not allowed to pursue any such sponsorship. The company may have now decided to see if opening up to gambling and liquor brands will benefit esports as a whole.

What Can Come Out of Activision-Blizzard’s Decision?

Alcohol has had a presence in esports even before as Bud Light was named the official beer for the League of Legends Championship Series. The liquor industry has a lot of potential support to offer the growing esports scene.   

Gambling, on the other hand, has been an irreplaceable part of games since ancient times. Esports haven’t been an exception to that rule. And there might be merit to that, since combating cheating is an aim of main importance for bookmakers, as Oddin and the Esic’s partnership recently showed.

The London Royal Ravens esports team is already at it as it signed a sponsorship deal with the sports and esports gambling platform Midnite. If the reports are correct, it’s a matter of time until other teams start signing bookmakers and alcohol producers as sponsors.

Some suggest that there is an inherent danger with gambling and alcohol having a presence in esports and especially in the big leagues with a myriad of viewers. However, there are opportunities as well. So long as people stay mindful and bet and drink in moderation, there is a lot of good that can come out of such sponsors and by Activision-Blizzard’s decision to greenlight them into the OWL and CDL.

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