Marketing / Teams / Technology


Esports Heat

Author Bati Ozcan, University of San Francisco

Posted: May 17, 2017

Creating a new brand is not an easy task and designing a successful brand design is even harder. Malkewitz and Bee (2014) emphasize that after design principles there are a few different steps of development such as NPD, market study, product development and market launch. It is also important that at some point, brands could face “re-branding” for marketing purposes (p. 103).

According to Fischer (2017a), Misfits eSports club acquired by Miami Heat changed their logo, re-branded themselves, for marketing purposes. After the acquisition of Misfits, Miami Heat instantly changed their brand design by implementing the traditional “t” letter of Miami Heat. According to Mr. Spoont, owner of Misfits, it is really important for Misfits brand to use The Heat’s marketing, merchandising and production values for their brand. Even a small change of a letter in a brand can have significant effects of the character of the brand. Malkewitz and Bee (2014) perfectly analyze the importance of anything in creating a logo or brand with nine steps of perceptual design principles (pp. 93-96).

There are many important aspects of brand identity in sports. In eSports the names and logos can be more creative. Dalakas and Rose (2014) explain that names of sports clubs should have a positive connotation between the name and the brand. “It is generally recommended to avoid names that may be controversial or offensive” (p. 115). They also emphasise the importance of team logo, colors and other branding elements. We can all combine these elements and examine them in a perfect brand in eSports, which is Cloud9. Cloud9 is one of the oldest organizations in eSports business and have a large fan base (Marshall, 2016). Without looking at their success we can see how important to have a tangible yet welcoming name. Cloud9 has a meaning of floating in air from happiness also represents Heaven”.

Dalakas and Rose (2014) also emphasis that “A team’s identity is influenced by the image of the people associated with the team, primarily the players, but also coaches, fans, and sometimes very visible owners” (p. 117). This is a perfect example of team Echo Fox which is backed by former NBA player and all of Famer, Rick Fox. Implementing his personal brand as a well-known athlete to the brand identity was very beneficial for the new team Echo Fox. With the right colors and strategies they quickly built their fan base. Another important aspect of branding element is to represent and symbolize a city or region (p. 118). In every eSports team for now based on represent a region or country. This type of international competition is not a thing that we are not familiar of. Fischer (2017b, p.2) explains that, “Four months ago, Blizzard made headlines by promising to launch a worldwide league of city-branded teams in the third quarter of 2017.” Overwatch is a game by Activision Blizzard which is one of the biggest companies in eSports. This huge operation will have it’s own demand and supply. Fischer (2017b, p.8), “Top Activision Blizzard executives believed a franchise could sell for $2 million to $5 million in smaller markets and three times that in Los Angeles, a focal point of esports activity. However, the valuation may be incorrect and is closer to $30 million on the high end.” We’ll see major cities to overpower smaller cities just like in NBA or NFL by the means of fans, economic power of the cities they are playing for. However, they are trying to implement a culture based on cities to create rivalries gain just like in NBA and NFL. It is not common in eSports community to have rivalries besides Scandinavian rivalries between Sweden and Denmark. However, you need to have city based teams in order to create those rivalries for North America scene.

It is really important to create a brand logo which is the foundation of any organization. Malkewitz and Bee (2014) explains how important and hard to create a perfect logo and design for the organization and Dalakas and Rose (2014) also emphasises the importance of the name and what it represents.



Dalakas, V., & Rose, G. (2014). Developing brand identity in sport: Lions, and Tigers, and Bears Oh My. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 109-122). New York, NY: Routledge.

Fischer B. (2017, January 16). Heat, Bucks owner take different paths to esports stakes. SportsBusiness Journal, 19(37), 5. Retrieved from

Fischer B. (2017, March 6). Road show on for new esports league. SportsBusiness Journal, 19(44), 3. Retrieved from

Malkewitz, K., & Bee, C. (2014). Undertaking successful brand design in sport. In M. P. Pritchard, & J. L. Stinson (Eds.), Leveraging brands in sport business (pp. 89-108). New York, NY: Routledge.

About Bati Ozcan, University of San Francisco

Bati completed his Bachelor of Arts and Economics from SUNY New Paltz in New York, before completing his Master of Arts in Capital Markets and Exchanges at Marmara University in Istanbul. He served as an auditor with Ernst & Young, and as Corporate Portfolio Manager with Garanti Bank in Turkey. Bati has followed esports for two decades, and most recently completed a due diligence for the proposed international acquisition of a CS:GO team. He is contactable via LinkedIn.

This is an edited version of a paper Bati prepared for Professor Michael Goldman‘s Sport Marketing course at the University of San Francisco.

IImage by Ginx TV, "Miami Heat buys a stake in Misfits esports,"