NetEase’s in-game items exchange platform Buff announced Tuesday that it has signed on as the title-sponsor of Chinese esports organization Rare Atom (RA) for its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) squad. As a result, the team has rebranded to Rare Atom Buff.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
After game publisher Valve confirmed that Counter-Strike 2 is real and will be released this summer, and tournament organizer PGL revealed that it would facilitate the very first Counter-Strike 2 Major in March 2024, brands and sponsors have seen the rising commercial value from CS:GO teams, and the in-game items exchange platform is one of them.
Though Chinese CS:GO teams have not ranked in the top tier teams in the world, RA is considered one of the best performing Chinese teams, formerly Vici Gaming (VG). After Valve released the trailer of Counter-Strike 2 on Youtube, the value of CS:GO in-game items went wild on the secondary market.
RA also competes in China’s top League of Legends franchise, the League of Legends Pro League (LPL). However, this sponsorship will probably not extend to the League of Legends squad due to Buff being owned by NetEase, a rival of Chinese conglomerate Tencent.