June 19, 2024

The wide spectrum of esports games and competitions makes it slightly challenging to build on a particular genre as a team or tournament operator more especially in Africa.

The question has been asked many times and counting, ‘how does one build a sustainable esports organisation or how do we develop a sustainable esports ecosystem in Africa?’. One area is through Collaborations and Partnerships! This is where esports and associated organisations leverage the strengths of multiple entities to achieve common goals. The fuss around them stems from several key myths and misconceptions however the benefits are immense, including !

Synergy: Collaboration amongst African esports organisations allows them to combine their expertise, resources, and networks to achieve outcomes that may not be possible individually. This synergy often leads to innovative solutions and enhanced efficiency. When organisations collaborate and stream content they tend to have double and sometimes even viral viewership and multiple engagement.

Expanded Reach: Partnerships can help African esports organisations tap into new markets, customer segments, or geographic regions that they may not have access to on their own. This expanded reach can accelerate growth and increase market share. For example, a tournament organisation based in Kenya collaborating with another tournament organisation in Ghana to host a regional efootball tournament will leverage on the

Risk Mitigation: By sharing resources and responsibilities, collaborators can spread out risks associated with projects or ventures. This can be particularly beneficial in uncertain or volatile environments.

Knowledge Sharing: Collaborations provide opportunities for learning and knowledge exchange between partners. This can lead to skill development, improved processes, and a deeper understanding of industry trends.

Cost Efficiency: Pooling resources through partnerships can lead to cost savings in areas such as research and development, marketing, and distribution. This allows organizations to achieve their objectives with fewer financial resources.

Brand Enhancement: Associating with reputable partners can enhance the credibility and reputation of organisations. This can be especially valuable when entering new markets or engaging with stakeholders. This one of the biggest advantages provided to the collaborating brands as they tend to gain more flowers and natural growth in numbers.

So, the question then is what the difference between Partnerships and collaborations is, as these two words are often used interchangeably, but there are nuanced differences between the two:

In depth analysis into the Nature of Relationship reveals –

Partnerships: Partnerships typically involve a more formal, long-term relationship between two or more entities. These entities work together closely to achieve shared goals, often with defined roles, responsibilities, and sometimes legal agreements.

Collaborations: Collaborations can be more informal and may involve short-term or project-based cooperation between individuals, organizations, or entities. While collaborations can also have defined goals, they may not necessarily entail a formalised structure or long-term commitment.

One of the key indicators is the Level of Integration:

Partnerships: Partnerships often involve a higher level of integration, where the entities may combine resources, share risks, and jointly invest in initiatives. There is a deeper level of trust and commitment, with each partner contributing to the success of the partnership.

Collaborations: Collaborations may involve less integration, with entities coming together for a specific purpose or project without necessarily pooling resources or sharing risks to the same extent as in partnerships.

One also needs to consider the Duration and Flexibility of the relationship:

Partnerships: Partnerships tend to be more enduring and stable, with a focus on building long-term relationships and achieving sustained outcomes over time. While partnerships can evolve and adapt, they often require a significant investment of time and resources.

Collaborations: Collaborations can be more flexible and adaptable, with participants coming together for a specific project or initiative and then potentially disbanding once the objectives are met. Collaborations allow entities to engage in cooperative efforts without necessarily committing to a long-term partnership.

The weight of the agreement and Legal Structure:

Partnerships: Partnerships may involve formal legal agreements, such as partnership contracts or agreements, outlining the terms and conditions of the relationship, including profit-sharing, decision-making processes, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

Collaborations: Collaborations may or may not involve formal legal agreements, depending on the nature and complexity of the collaboration. In some cases, a simple memorandum of understanding (MOU) or project-specific agreement may suffice to outline the terms of cooperation.

In esports and associated industries, whilst partnerships and collaborations both involve working together towards common goals, partnerships tend to be more formal, integrated, and enduring, whereas collaborations may be more informal, project-based, and flexible. Sports can leverage partnerships and collaborations in several ways to fuel its growth.

Sponsorships and Brand Partnerships:

Esports organizations can partner with brands for sponsorships, where brands provide financial support or resources in exchange for exposure to the esports audience. This could include logo placement, product integration, or sponsored events.

Collaborating with non-endemic brands (brands not traditionally associated with gaming) can expand the reach of esports and attract new audiences.

Media and Broadcasting Partnerships:

Partnering with media companies and broadcasters can increase the visibility of esports events and competitions. This could involve broadcasting rights deals, co-produced content, or exclusive streaming partnerships.

Collaborations with traditional sports networks or streaming platforms can help esports reach broader audiences and gain legitimacy in the mainstream media landscape.

Technology and Platform Partnerships:

Collaborating with technology companies and platform providers can enhance the esports experience for players and fans alike. This could include partnerships with hardware manufacturers for gaming peripherals, software developers for esports-specific tools and platforms, or internet service providers for high-speed connectivity.

Partnerships with streaming platforms, social media networks, and gaming platforms can facilitate the distribution and promotion of esports content to a global audience.

Team and Player Partnerships:

Esports organizations can form partnerships with professional teams and individual players to enhance their competitive capabilities, attract top talent, and build fan engagement.

Collaborations with influencers, content creators, and esports personalities can help amplify the reach of esports organizations and drive engagement on social media platforms.

Education and Development Partnerships:

Collaborating with educational institutions, governing bodies, and industry organizations can promote the growth and professionalism of esports through initiatives such as esports scholarships, training programs, and industry certifications.

Partnerships with game developers and publishers can support the development of esports ecosystems around specific game titles, including organized leagues, tournaments, and community events.

Community and Grassroots Partnerships:

Esports organizations can partner with grassroots organizations, local communities, and esports venues to support the growth of amateur and semi-professional esports scenes.

Collaborations with content creators, fan communities, and esports fan clubs can foster a sense of belonging and engagement within the esports community.

By strategically leveraging partnerships and collaborations across these areas, esports can accelerate its growth, expand its reach, and establish itself as a mainstream form of entertainment and competition on a global scale. Overall, collaborations and partnerships are seen as a strategic approach to unlocking new opportunities, driving innovation, and achieving mutual success. The fuss around them is justified by the tangible benefits they offer to participating organizations.