What: Counter Logic Gaming has announced a sponsor partnership with OMEN, the gaming hardware wing of HP. They are now "the Official PC & Monitor Partner of Counter Logic Gaming."
Why: The companies are hoping for a bigger partnership than usual sponsorship deals. In other words, they want to make content together. We'll also see CLG players at OMEN by HP live events.
Expect CLG in the OMEN Dojo: OMEN is also planning to start a stream series where CLG players give tips and lessons on a variety of games.
What does it all really mean: We interviewed CLG COO Nick Allen to find out why they want to work with HP OMEN, what we can expect to see from CLG, and what they hope will make this different from usual sponsorships.
In a post-franchising world, some fans wonder why we haven't seen more of an influx of sponsor partnerships for some teams. Can you talk a little about the process of finding and finalizing those partnerships?
Nick Allen: First and foremost, we we look for partners at that are aligned in terms of value proposition with our organization and our players. We ultimately want it to be a two way street, where we're adding value to the partner and vice versa. A lot of what we do, especially in the early stages of our seeking partners, is that goal alignment right and understanding their perspective on the space.
You know, I think the word that a lot of people throw around these days is 'authentic', which is absolutely true. It takes an understanding of esports and it takes an excitement about esports for someone to really understand it.
So HP OMEN has been really exciting because of those things: they're really excited about esports. We want to make sure that there is an alignment, and that they wouldn't be asking for something that wouldn't make sense for the space. The folks over over there really understand the space, and so in light of that it was a really great partnership for us.
You mentioned authenticy - what signaled that HP OMEN was going to be an authentic brand to have around?
A lot of it comes down to the conversation that we have, and understanding the folks on the other side of the table. You realize pretty quickly [if they understand] when you start talking about esports, and the player base, and what cool and interesting things we can do together for our fanbase and players.
It was just these deep conversations around the state of the ecosystem. Those conversations were really positive early on, and led us all the way down to partnering with HP OMEN.
What's the difference between what CLG is calling an "involved partner" and other sponsors?
A lot of it comes down to how we put forward each other's brands. In some cases, there are lots of sponsors and brands that really just care about how many eyeballs their logo is going to get. You sort of put that up, and hope a lot of people see it.
But the great thing about HP OMEN -- as well as the other partners that we have and that we choose to work with -- is they want to go above and beyond. The [OMEN Dojo] is one aspect where it's not just about flashing your brand up and hoping people see it. It's really about how we deeply engage the fan. How do we have them walk away with something valuable for themselves?
If a deep partnership is really about echoing each other's brands, what about HP OMEN are you going to try to communicate to fans?
I want CLG fans and beyond to know that HP OMEN has chosen to really deeply invest in the esports space. It's not an experiment for them, it's not something they're just trying out, it's something that they see a ton of value in to deeply invest, which means they're not going anywhere. We're really excited about their commitment to esports especially long term. It's really that HP OMEN deeply understands the esports community
Beyond that, I think that they're going to be doing a lot of interesting cool and fun things with us that are more than just getting their brand out there. It is really about this deeper engagement with the esports fan, the CLG fan as well. You're going to be seeing a lot more things beyond just the Dojo between CLG and HP OMEN.
Does that mean we'll see new types of content from CLG?
The efforts are going to go well beyond just content. I mean that both from like a live streaming and the VOD perspective.
And without getting too into the weeds to spoil it, I would say that something that is important for both HP OMEN and CLG is in-person activations - how do we bring this partnership, this experience, these brands together in a physical way to delight fans. We have some cool stuff planned for that as well.
We hear a lot about how hardware sponsors can "level up play." What does that technically mean for HP OMEN and CLG?
Yes, I think there's a couple of different ways.
I think there is this product focus that's really important to HP OMEN, that we love as part of the partnership. They deeply understand how the players play, how they utilize equipment, those really intricate hardware needs, and how we can improve it over time.
There's also a little bit of back and forth between the organizations, where HP OMEN will learn special things from player to player to understand and how they can improve from a hardware perspective.
There is this dedication to coaching and development -- the evolution and improvement of play. And again, without going too much into detail and ruin all the surprises, it's something that we deeply collaborate on with brands, especially HP OMEN, to improve our players. It's something that they care about. It's something that they constantly bring up to us in terms of how they can be helpful and resourceful in this way. And that's one of the things that we really appreciate.
Anything else you want fans to know?
From early on, like the brainstorming sessions, the opportunity and the overall direction of where this partnership is going has always been super exciting. It's not just about getting their brand out there. It's about how we can work together to surprise and delight our fans.
And so I think if there's one last thing to say, it's just that we feel that this partnership over time will look really, really different from what we've seen in esports traditionally, and it's a result of the passion excitement and creativity of our two organizations working together. I couldn't be more excited about about the partnership.