Workshop Organised with APRU Teaches How to Win Heavyweight Brand Sponsorships for Esports Development

HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 30 April 2021 - Hong Kong Cyberport and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), a consortium of 58 leading universities in the Pacific Rim region, today held the APRU Esports Fellowship Workshop on the Cyberport campus and online. Talon Esports, a Cyberport incubatee and well-known organiser of esports leagues, shared its perspective on the esports business ecosystem and how marketing and business sponsorship can benefit the industry's development. 30 students from universities in Hong Kong and the Pacific Rim, including the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the School of Professional and Continuing Education of the University of Hong Kong (HKU SPACE) and the Open University of Hong Kong, joined the workshop and exchanged views with fellow students who share their passion for esports.



Participating students conducted a mock sponsor pitch to enhance their knowledge of the esports ecosystem.


Eric Chan, Chief Public Mission Officer of Cyberport, said, "Cyberport is committed to cultivating local young talent and providing them with diversified entrepreneurship and career opportunities. As a high-growth emerging industry, esports and digital entertainment present younger generations with a rich array of opportunities, from content development to team management and training, and from event planning to brand marketing. Through this workshop, participants learned about the esports industry's business models and the unique advantages of Hong Kong's esports companies. Those aspiring to a career in esports could also broaden their horizons and enjoy fruitful exchanges via the APRU network with their counterparts from other universities in the Pacific Rim."


Industry Leader Shares Tips on Winning Sponsorships

According to the latest forecast from industry research institute Newzoo, the global esports market's value will reach USD1.084 billion in 2021, representing year-on-year growth of 14.5%. Business sponsorship will account for USD641 million, close to 60% of the total value. This demonstrates that business sponsorship is the esports industry's bread and butter.


As a Cyberport incubatee, Talon Esports is well-known for its League of Legends team, PSG Talon, as well as for the successful esports events it has staged, such as the VALORANT competitions in Hong Kong and Taiwan which have attracted lucrative sponsorships from a wide variety of businesses including sportswear company Nike, KFC Thailand, Hong Kong virtual bank Mox and gaming seat developer Recaro. Today's workshop tutor, Sean Zhang, CEO and Co-founder of Talon Esports, noted: "Everything begins with the fans. Esports fans typically represent a very valuable consumer segment for many brands, but they are also notoriously difficult to reach through traditional channels. So the most important thing for us to understand from a partnership perspective is what our partners are looking to achieve, from both a business and a branding standpoint, and then our job is to work out how we can best help them bridge that gap between them and the gaming community in a way that is authentic and adds value for our fans too."


Sponsor Pitch Simulations

Each participating university, including the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, HKU SPACE, the Open University of Hong Kong, the Far Eastern Federal University, the National Taiwan University, the National University of Singapore, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, the University of British Columbia, the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Washington, arranged for two to three representatives to join the workshop.  Grouped into five teams, the students were required to conduct a sponsor pitch for a popular esports league. To enhance their knowledge of the esports ecosystem, feedback and suggestions were provided by the tutor.


Organising inter-university tournaments and academic competitions

Dr Christopher Tremewan, APRU Secretary General, said, "Empowering future Esports leaders in the Pacific Rim brought APRU and Cyberport together to create the APRU Esports Fellowship Program. Through Cyberport, the new generation will have access to the resources they need to develop skills and build networks for careers in the thriving Esports industry, including access to over 140 Esports start-ups. A perk of our program is that students will have the exclusive opportunity to pitch to industry leaders after learning about sponsorship relations and insider tips that cannot be found in textbooks. Going forward, we will forge ahead with this partnership and offer more opportunities for students to learn through student-led inter-university tournaments, academic competitions and fellowships."


APRU is a premier alliance of research universities, established in Los Angeles in 1997 by the presidents of UCLA, Berkeley, Caltech and the University of Southern California. It aims to foster collaboration between member universities to promote economic, scientific and cultural advancement in the Pacific Rim. APRU now has a membership of more than 50 leading research universities.


Organised by Cyberport in partnership with APRU and the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, the APRU Esports Fellowship Program is a one-year programme dedicated to the esports industry. Cyberport's session in Hong Kong is the programme's third workshop, with the first two hosted by the National University of Singapore and the University of California, Los Angeles. The next workshop is planned for May, and will be hosted by the University of British Columbia. In addition to workshops, the programme also includes competitions which aim to boost the student's esports skills and techniques. 


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