Amazon's mobile department has finalized a one-year agreement to sponsor North American esports team NRG Esports, the two parties announced Wednesday. This marks Amazon's first sponsorship in esports.
Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
Amazon's App Store platform and Coins virtual currency will be the title sponsor for NRG's Hearthstone and Vainglory teams, the former which is available for both desktop and mobile gaming, the latter which is exclusively playable on mobile devices. With the deal, these two teams will wear an Amazon Coins logo on the front of their jerseys, while the other NRG teams will have the logo in line with the team's additional sponsorships.
Additionally, the deal will have the NRG teams do a roadshow of Amazon-hosted events that are to be announced at a later date. In a call with ESPN, NRG Esports CEO Brett Lautenbach compared the sponsorship to that of his company's partnership with Events DC, which activated at a live event at the SXSW conference in March and will feature NRG events in the Washington, D.C., area, including events at the soon-to-be-built Washington Mystics WNBA arena.
"The ownership group at NRG has its roots in mobile entrepreneurship," NRG Esports co-founder Andy Miller told ESPN. "We made our careers in the lightning fast space of mobile billing, content and monetization. We are firm believers that the mobile esports scene will see similar acceleration and are excited by mobile-only titles like Vainglory. Amazon's mobile-first approach to this sponsorship really struck a chord with us. They are very forward-thinking around mobility and together we should shine a spotlight on Amazon's many mobile efforts."
Miller, who co-founded NRG in November 2015 with 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov, founded Quattro Wireless, a mobile-focused advertising company, in 2006. In 2010, Miller sold Quattro to Apple for $275 million, according to a CNET report, with Miller becoming an executive at the company. In 2013, Miller and Mastrov were a part of a group led by Vivek Ranadivé that purchased NBA team the Sacramento Kings for $535 million.
This marks Amazon's first sponsorship in esports. In August 2014, Amazon purchased video game livestreaming platform Twitch for $970 million. Miller and Lautenbach told ESPN that they first encountered Amazon's mobile arm and heard out its plans for esports at the annual TwitchCon conference in San Diego in November.