A lot of people have noticed some changes among the eSports teams sponsored by SteelSeries. While I cannot comment on the individual cases, I may be able to provide a little bit of insight into the future for SteelSeries and our eSports activities.
First of all, most of our sponsorship contracts follow a calendar year, so almost all of them end on December 31st.
As a sponsor, our decision to not extend a contract can obviously be attributed to a multitude of reasons. Examples that I have experienced myself, during my work for SteelSeries, include teams asking for too much money, to the point where prolonging the partnership would result in a poor or negative return on investment. It could also be a different or new focus for us as a company, in terms of market, distribution, products and support.
On the other side of the table, a gaming team can decide to not extend a contract because they can get more money, align strategic partnerships, achieve tactical support outside of the realm of finances (and/or many other things), by signing with a different company.
A sponsorship is a partnership agreement, based on perceived value between two parties. If said parties cannot agree on what that value is, the partnership is probably a really bad idea.
The fact that SteelSeries is not sponsoring some of the teams we used to sponsor, doesn’t mean that we are not supporting eSports, or that we will stop our support of eSports. Sponsorships in eSports are by far the biggest line item in my global marketing budget for SteelSeries. And it will absolutely continue to be so.