Being Valuable to Sponsors

For players who dream of making money from their passion for gaming, becoming a member of a team and/or being sponsored is one of the best ways to go pro.  Many players have some misconceptions about what it means to be sponsored and by changing their perspective just a little they can really discover many ways that they can become good sponsor prospects, if they put in the time and effort to do so.  

Traditional sports have many different revenue streams that can keep players and teams paid and happy, but in esports there is really only one major revenue stream and that’s sponsorship for the purpose of advertising.  Companies want to advertise their products, players and teams offer to get the word out on their products for a price. If you play your cards right you too could have a huge logo tattooed on your forehead while you play grand finals.  What you need to do is put yourself in the shoes of one of these companies and ask, “Why would they pay ME to advertise for them?”. Well first imagine that you are literally a walking billboard for their product. How are people gonna see that billboard?

“Easy!”, you say, “I’ll just win.”  That’s a good start, winning is always a great way to advertise and for many it’s the best or only way to get noticed.  The more events you win the more you’ll appear on stream, the more times your name and sponsor tag will appear on strangers computer monitors. Winning, no matter how you do it or how little people like how you did it, is always good advertising.  So one of your goals should be to be the best or one of the best at whatever your game is so you stand out and get attention.

“Alright, I’ll work on winning, what else can I be doing?”  Winning isn’t the only way you can get your face and name in front of people.  Commentators get attention and tons of stream time so if you can get on that mic.  Being funny, smart, or professional in front of a camera is going to earn you a lot of points with potential sponsors.  Sponsors love to make advertisements and being able to put you in there helps you and them. If you can show that you are great on camera or can even make your own ads then that looks great!

Social media is amazing for advertising so having a strong presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube is a huge plus.  Even if you don’t have the followers yet, just showing that you can act the ways sponsors would want you to is points for you.  Most sponsors want some combination of professional, funny and insightful, so start making connections and posting as much as you can.

Ultimately the mindset you should cultivate is that pretending you are already sponsored and imagining what a sponsor would ask of you will help guide you to be the professional you aim to be.  This will also allow you to get creative and even find ways of increasing your potential value to teams by finding new ways to get noticed. Every win (or top 8) you get, every popular tweet, funny video, or personal connection you form will help.  Imagine each connection or piece of content on an esports resume that you could show to Cloud 9 or TSM. If what you did sounds like it could get eyes on you, you are heading in the right direction.

Creating a Tournament Report

One of the difficult aspects of improving in a game like Smash Bros is finding out your own weaknesses and areas for improvement then turning around and creating a practice plan to address those points.  While there are a number of ways of being faced with your own weak points, like online matches, training with friends, and tournament matches, there is a big difference between knowing you have weaknesses and being able to put them into words.  Something that helps me is creating a Tournament Report after every tournament I enter to identify things to practice.  

A Tournament Report is a small page of notes on various aspects of the tournament that can help you focus on what you can work on for the next tournament. I’d recommend writing a report the next day or even the same day after the tournament, but leaving a little time to get a little emotional distance so you aren’t just pouring salt on your opponents for the whole report.  A good report will have the following points in as much detail as you can remember:

1.   The characters you and your opponents played in each game of each set

Understanding what characters you each picked and why can help you make different decisions later if that might help, or allow you to work out a strategy for later.  If either of you is using blind-pick, keeping track of what certain opponents pick can help you out a lot later too. 

2.   The stages played and who counter picked what stage

Same as above, evaluating whether your stage picks helped or hurt you can help a lot in the future.

3.   Notes about how you were feeling before the tournament

Note here things like whether you warmed up before the set, were you feeling good, nervous, or down, did you eat before playing, etc. 

4.   How well you were able to focus during each set

How did you feel during the set?  Were you getting angry, upset, what moves caused you to feel what? Did you feel like you could adapt to the way your opponent played?

5.   Thoughts or feelings you had after each set, either about yourself or about how the opponent played

Same as above, but what was going through your head after the games?

6.   How did your opponent play?

What was their style like?  Aggressive? Combo oriented?  How did they respond to your play?  Did they stay calm or what caused them to react?

7.   How did you play?

What got under your skin?  Did you feel like you played well?  Did you stick to your game plan?

8.   What are some practicable points that you can take away from this set? 

How can you be better prepared for playing this opponent again? What can you do in training mode today to be better for the next tournament?


Being able to put all of these notes down will help you understand your own performance better and give you something to keep in mind for next time.  You’ll also feel more confident for the next time you face these opponents because you’ll have put in time and practice just for them!


*Here’s a quick example of what my last tournament report looks like.  If you want help making one of these, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter and I’ll give whatever advice I can.  (

WNF 2/26 Tournament Report for Count

Count player 4 sets, going 2-2


Set one:  Neverpullout, playing Mario

Game one Count played Snake, Lost (PS2)

Game two Count played Dedede, Lost (Smashville)


Count did not warm up before his first set, and played somewhat poorly, missing b reversals, getting frustrated, airdodging in a lot and not properly DIing.  He also SDed once at low percent stock two in game one. He had more presence for game two but fell prey to Mario combos. He consistently went for shield grabs in unsafe situations and got punished for it.  

Never played a very aggressive game, often fading straight into Count and going for aggressive shield pressure and combos.  He got hit a lot coming in but didn’t become deterred. He seemed to not like playing against defensive players, and could be easily frustrated. Never is an emotive player, often shaking his head during games and showing his frustration.


Takeaways:  Practice DIing Mario combos, OOS options against Mario, Having a game plan against aggressive Marios, Remembering to warm up before sets, Consider using Lucina for particularly aggressive Marios, Practice maintaining a positive mindset against negative players, 


Set two: NgocOut (Knockout), playing Greninja (?) and Yoshi

Game one Count played Snake, Won vs Greninja

Game two Count played Lucina, Won vs Yoshi


NgocOut was very new to the game and likely won’t be entering future tournaments, and is a way from being a threat.  Nice guy though. 


Set three: Big Sean played Bowser

Game one Count played Snake, Won (PS2)

Game two Count played Snake, Lost (Smashville?)

Game three Count played Snake, WIn (Kalos)

Sean banned both triplats.  


Sean looked uncomfortable playing against Snake. He went for more side Bs as the set progressed, possibly to adjust to Count shielding a lot.  Sean Up B’d OOS a good amount when behind him. At low percent look for the flame breath, at higher percent look for pivot up tilt. Dairing may be a frustration move that Sean goes for, pulling grenades and staying mobile worked well.  Only used down B for platform pressure, and only once or twice.  


Takeaways: Practice down throw follow ups, Snake gets a lot from throwing Bowser.  

(Low % upthrow > uptilt, mid % throw offstage, high % dthrow to jab/ftilt/uptilt), Frustrating Sean by making him chase you across the stage and back looks like a promising strategy, He used side b mostly aggressively rarely going for it when I approached but when he approached so landing near him with shield and grenade was good and set up good trades when Snake can follow up from the grenade explosion. Sean may ride momentum in his sets, having trouble making comebacks but gaining confidence from taking early stocks. He could go for slightly different strategies when up versus when he’s behind.  


Set four: Dave played Daisy

Game one Count played Snake, Lost (PS2?)

Game two Count played Snake, Won (BF?)

Game three Count played Snake, Lost

Dave banned Lylat and ?


Dave has fairly emotive, getting a little frustrated by campy strategies, but adjusted by pulling more turnips, throwing them and going in after fairly consistently.  He was comfortable playing around shields, going for good pressure, baiting shield grabs and comboing fairly well. He didn’t dair shield, preferring bair and nair. He waits for people to jump from ledge, not going for trumps or hits on the ledge.  He side Bs from the ledge occasionally when recovering. Odd moves and unexpected plays seem to get to Dave particularly. Likes to throw Snake off stage and go for a jump read fair, didn’t seem as comfortable countering low recoveries but they are still very risky.  He dealt with Snake up smashes well, don’t use them as a keep out tool.  


Takeaways:  Practice throw follow ups (back throw > dash attack at low%, throw off stage at mid %), Work on jump habits offstage, Mix up OOS options more, Practice dealing with turnips, develop a strategy against players who prefer shield pressure over grabbing.