When Cavs Legion GC announced the creation of an esports center in the Battery Park neighborhood, its stated intention was to engage the esports community in Northeast Ohio. Those results have begun to be realized with the most logical partnership in the area.
On Wednesday, the team announced a partnership with the esports program at Kent State University, wherein the university gets its branding on both of the esports center’s streaming pods. Kent State’s esports teams also get access to the facility for practices.
For Cavs Legion GC, the win in this partnership is heightened brand awareness.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to team up with Kent State University Esports as we continue to build, support and engage the esports community in Northeast Ohio,” said Jonathan Sumers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Cavs Legion senior director of esports in a press release. “Bridging the gap between the collegiate and professional level of esports is an important next step in our growth, and we couldn’t be more excited to have Kent State Esports by our side to help us do this.”
While whatever funds Kent State is paying to have its branding displayed in the streaming pods is certainly a beginning to monetizing the space, this partnership represents another step toward cementing a fan base in the Cleveland area. NBA 2K League franchises may play their games in New York City, but the key to long-term success is getting their local communities to buy in.
By getting their brand in front of Kent State students, Cavs Legion GC stands to gain traction among the demographics most likely to be esports fans. That’s worth all the investment of resources Cavs Legion GC is committing. It could also potentially be tapping a new talent pool for future positions in its organization.
The creation of an esports center was a marketing and outreach play for Cavs Legion GC. So far, the efforts to build a legion of local fans seems to be working.
Kent State began its esports program about a year ago, carrying teams for titles like Hearthstone, League of Legends, Rocket League and Overwatch.
“Our new partnership with the Cavs Legion Gaming Club will provide Kent State students access to a state-of-the-art gaming space and put them in touch with experts who can help to improve their skills,” Kent State President Todd Diacon said in a press release. “Esports is a new and growing area for our students. The skills our team members learn through competition and practice help to prepare them for a wide variety of careers, including sports management, game design, statistics and sports psychology. In addition to our players, this new partnership with the Cavaliers will help to raise the national and international profile of Kent State, as well as our esports team.”
Cavs Legion GC will help Kent State students produce esports-centric content as well. The partnership with Cavs Legion GC could help Kent State in attracting students to its campus.