Gaming. Porn. Apparently there's an overlap of interests. On Tuesday, pornographic video site YouPorn announced its sponsorship of Play2Win, a team of competitive gamers -- er, "e-sports" athletes -- from Spain. Play2Win will change its name to Team YP as part of the partnership, just in time to compete in video game tournament Gamergy in Madrid this Friday.
The contract between YouPorn and Team YP will last six months. Team YP is made up of e-sports veterans and team managers who have battled it out in competitions like “Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft” and “League of Legends.”
Gamergy, which will run through Sunday, will see players compete in 2003’s “Warcraft III: Frozen Throne” and the ever-popular competitive game “DOTA 2.”
“Essentially, e-sports is an industry we’ve been looking to somehow get involved in for a while,” Brad Burns, vice president of YouPorn, told IBTimes. “The rising popularity of the sport was what drew us in, and so naturally we hoped to become a part of it somehow. With this announcement, our efforts have finally culminated into an official sponsorship – so now we’re hoping to see what kind of splash we can make.”
Yes, playing video games has turned into a lucrative career for many professional players and online streamers, while also providing a source of entertainment for millions (yes, millions) of fans. During the past two years, “DOTA 2” competitors have earned a combined total of more than $23 million in prize winnings.
The players have also become celebrities in their own right. Matt Haag, who also goes by the online moniker Nadeshot, is a popular competitive player sponsored by energy drink Redbull. At 22, Haag’s salary is well over six figures. Competitive e-sports is an industry ripe for the picking, and it may not be long before we see unconventional sponsorships like this one taking place on a regular basis.
Burns says YouPorn’s first goal is to gain a better comprehension of an industry that’s growing at a rapid rate. “In the end, we hope to ultimately gain a further understanding of the industry, and really see what it’s about, while having some fun along the way,” Burns added. “We think we can definitely have some success collaborating with our current team and are striving to make this the first among many plays into the space.”
Burns has no idea where this partnership may lead, but he remains optimistic about the future of Team YP. “We’re going to do all we can to make our team No. 1. If all goes well on our end, this may just be the beginning of our foray into e-sports.”