Commexis Cast Daily – May 04, 2018: Brands Taking Advantage of the eSports Boom!

Today’s Commexis Cast discusses three brands using eSports sponsorships to create brand awareness and target younger demographics. You may have heard your child’s screams of delight and frustration while playing Overwatch, or saw them with eyes fixed on the screen watching the League of Legends World Championship, or read their tweets about a Fortnite live stream featuring Drake (or, frankly, have seen the Fornite craze in the newspaper). Whether you’ve heard or not, eSports are becoming a massive business and a fantastic opportunity for advertisers and sponsors to get their products and services in front of a large, typically young, audience. Charlotte Rogers on Marketing Week goes into detail the campaigns for Mercedes-Benz, Gillette, and Turtle Wax who each are seizing a piece of the eSports marketing pie.

First, Mercedes-Benz formed a partnership with the Electronic Sports League (ESL) the largest company and organizer of eSports competitions around the globe. As part of the sponsorship deal, Mercedes re-shot their “Grow Up” campaign with an eSports storyline twist for the ESL One tournament in Genting, Malaysia. Check it out below.

Rogers reports that, “[l]ast year there were 588 major eSports events generating an estimated $59m in ticket sales, up $32m from 2016, according to eSports market intelligence specialist Newzoo. The total prize money of all eSports events held in 2017 reached $112m, the first time it has ever exceed $100m.” It’s no surprise that big companies want in.

Rogers spoke with Bettina Haussmann, senior manager sponsoring, product placement and motorsports at Mercedes-Benz who said, “We are already seeing sold-out stadiums around the world, enormous prize money and millions of viewing hours of streamed material. Nonetheless, we are confident that eSports has by no means reached its full potential, so we believe it was just the right time for us to make an entry.”

For another competition in Katowice, Poland, Mercedes drove the teams between their hotel and stadium with cars wrapped in their respective branding. In addition, the MVP of that competition, as voted by fans, was given a new Mercedes (you can see the MVP below).

Gillette, on the other hand, partnered with the ESL to sponsor the IEM tournament in February. Gillette offered grooming for all players, as well as offering personalized 3D printed razor handles for fans. The brand saw this as an opportunity to reach a younger male demographic.

A 40% share of total revenues, and the biggest financial driver in eSports, is expected to be claimed by Sponsorship deals like Gillette’s. Rogers reports that, “Newzoo expects eSports sponsorship deals – spanning event sponsorship, product placement and the sponsorship of professional teams – to hit $359.4m in 2018, a rise of 53.2% year-on-year.”

In addition, Gillette also signed a professional League of Legends player xPeke to be their brand ambassador. This marked the first eSports athlete to join Gillette’s sponsorship roster.

Finally, Turtle Wax has been sponsoring OpTic Gaming’s Call of Duty eSports teams in the US for three years, and is branching into sponsoring a European team, as well. For Turtle Wax, it’s about the authenticity of the streamers they sponsor. Rogers spoke to Matt Chapman, Turtle Wax’s European marketing controller, who said, “They’re constantly streaming and they’re OK with streaming their lives, so it comes off as much more genuine. So much so that if you think about the recent stream with Ninja and Drake, it was one of the most comfortable pieces of content. It went on for four hours and had a huge following.”

It’s certainly an exciting, and lucrative, time for eSports. Newzoo estimates that the global eSports revenues will rocket to $1.65 billion, with $1.4 billion coming from brand investment.

Furthermore, Entrepreneur listed three things all business owners should know about eSports. One of the biggest: the League of Legends World Championship has more views than the 2016 NBA Finals, beating out 46 million to 30 million.

Oh, and did you know? According to Forbes, “the average starting North American League of Legends Championship Series (NA LCS) player salary is now over $320,000.” For reference, Major League Soccer club players average about the same salary. Certainly makes you wonder if you chose the right career path, doesn’t it?*

Today’s cast: Phillip Brooks (Commexis Lead Strategist) and Matthew McGrorty (Commexis Videographer/Podcaster).

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*All joking aside, these athletes put a ton of time and effort into their craft, build up significant mental and physical stamina, and absolutely earn their paychecks.

Matt McGrorty

Videographer / Podcaster

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