The dream of getting paid to play games is alive and well here in Smash land and how can you cash in on all the free* money? Let’s talk about sponsorships.
A sponsorship is when a company or person gives a player money to advertise their good or service. You, the player, are a walking talking billboard for the company. But you can be BETTER than a billboard. And that makes you worth more MONEY than a billboard too. As a sponsored player, or a Pro, you are now marketing yourself as a money making tool for businesses. So to get what you believe you are worth, you’ll need to sell yourself like you would with a resume to get a job. And the name of the game is:
The reason you expect to see pro players at the top 8 at tournaments is that they tend to be better players. Winning more matches means more opportunities to show your sponsor off on stream. The more people who see your sponsors name, their logo, their cool shirt they gave you, or their cool product is how they get more sales. All parts of a sponsorship boil down to visibility, it’s vitally important.
So winning is one of the most understood ways to showing your value as a visible player, but there are lots of other ways to be visible. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and online forums are great places to get attention and make a name for yourself. By building friends and followers you can be more valuable to your sponsor. A well connected and well liked player also helps the products image, which we’ll get to later. Creating content like videos, tutorials, guides, humorous rants, art, controller mods, music, or blogs are all good ways to gain value as a sponsored player.
If landing on stream is a goal then being a player who everyone want to see play is a good way to do that. Maybe you play an unusual character or have a ridiculously aggressive style. Stream viewers probably want to watch you play and that makes you more valuable to the tournament stream AND the sponsor. You bring viewers to the stream, and you get more visible for the sponsor. Win-win.
Your image as a player is also important to sponsors. Are you well liked in the community? Do people know your name? Do you have good stream presence? Are you looking professional when you are in the public eye? Do complain on twitter when you lose? Do you exhibit any unsportsmanlike conduct in tournament or on stream? You can hopefully guess which of these things are good and which are bad. (Hint: first four are good, last two are bad) How you are viewed is a huge part of your value as a sponsored player, so treat yourself like a celebrity. A lot more than an actor’s acting skill goes into creating his image, so think long and hard about your own image.
Lastly, when you are wondering what you can do to be sponsored, act as if you are ALREADY sponsored! Be professional! Dress well! Get yourself out there! Create content! Practice! Oh, and don’t forget that just like getting a job, you have to tell sponsors that you want the job! Don’t be bashful; let anyone you can know that you are ready to be sponsored and that they can have this gamer on their team.
Get to work!
*: Free money not actually free. It takes lots of work.