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Finding and wooing sponsors is a challenge in any sport, but in professional gaming it can be even more intimidating. Gaming is a relatively young market without hard and fast rules for finding and keeping sponsors, and a number of would-be professional gamers are ill equipped to make the decisions required to protect their interests and encourage their professional growth. If you want to land a sponsor, you are going to need a true understanding of the business and a professional mindset, in addition to your hard gaming skills.
Find a game that is currently being played in professional competitions and practice until you are among the best players. You will not find many sponsorships for games people aren't interested in, so take the gaming community's pulse and jump into a game that you find appealing, but also has wide interest. First-person shooters and real-time strategy games are usually the top-billed events at a gaming competition.
Attend local LAN events and competitions to hone your skills and build your personal brand. You will need a base level of popularity to pique the interest of a sponsor.
Participate in national LAN events, which bring the best players from around the country into direct competition with one another. A solid performance on the national stage can bring you to the attention of sponsors very quickly.
Learn about the professional side of gaming. Understand what it means to be marketable and to promote the brand you represent. Companies want gamers that can help them increase sales and build brand awareness -- just being the best person in the room will not cut it.
Expand your personal gaming identity. The more gamers know and respect you, the more appealing you are to a sponsor. Host your own podcast about a specific game, or write a weekly blog discussing strategy or game tweaks for your game of choice.
Contact sponsors directly once you have gained some ground in terms of popularity and have a few strong LAN finishes under your belt. When you show sponsors how you can strengthen their brand and keep gamers engaged, you will find them much more agreeable to bringing you on the team.
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