Today, the video streaming platform, Twitch announced a new partnership with two professional eSports teams, Team SoloMid (TSM) and Cloud9 (C9). The agreement makes Twitch the teams’ official sponsor sales representative, connecting them with brands outside of the gaming world and further growing the eSports industry. Twitch will remain the exclusive streaming platform for the two teams while it builds relationships with brands looking to tap into their combined audience.

“These brands will have one-stop access to Twitch’s audience of nearly 10 million daily viewers and TSM and Cloud9’s global fan bases, ensuring unified, authentic engagement with the growing eSports audience,” read an official statement from the company.

Twitch’s vice president and commercial director for eSports, Kristen Salvatore, spoke with [a]listdaily about connecting non-endemic brands with eSports teams and how this partnership will help grow the industry.

What convinced Twitch to officially represent two eSports teams?

ESports is part of Twitch’s DNA—we’re deeply invested in the success and growth of the eSports ecosystem. Putting more money into players’ pockets is a core focus of our eSports strategy, and leveraging our sponsorship sales expertise on behalf of teams is a benefit we’re glad to provide.

What drew Twitch to Team SoloMid and Cloud9, and how did the deal come together?

TSM and Cloud9 have longstanding relationships with Twitch that span many years. They’re two of the largest, most recognizable teams in eSports with a strong Twitch presence. In addition, they have top league placings and believe in treating their players really well. Since they’ve been partners with us in the past on new initiatives, it was a natural fit for us to work together in this way.

What are the challenges for eSports teams trying to connect with non-gaming brands?

Sponsorship sales is an exciting space, but it’s also quite fluid. Ensuring the right match between a team and a sponsor—one in which both brands’ aims are being met, and consumers are delighted by the results—takes full-time focus. Twitch’s sizable, well-developed global sales team can leverage our scale, brand recognition, and experience to do the sponsorship sales heavy lifting, so TSM and C9 can focus on what they do best: winning.

We’re also able to combine team sponsorship activations with exclusive access to the large advertising inventory available on Twitch—something no other sales team can offer. This level of integration is especially appealing to non-gaming brands who may be new to eSports.

In what ways does this partnership help the eSports industry grow as a whole?

Bringing new, particularly non-gaming brands into the world of eSports is critical to the ecosystem’s success. ESports fans make up an enormous audience that’s deeply desirable to brands–and extremely difficult to reach through traditional advertising channels. Leveraging our sales expertise to ensure that non-gaming brands enter the space in a meaningful way is a decisive first step toward that necessity.

Does this partnership open the possibility for Twitch to represent more teams in the future?

Yes, absolutely. It’s always been our mission to help content creators make a sustainable living on Twitch, and that includes teams and players. We’d love to connect them with sponsors whose brands are a great match for their own.

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