eSports get mainstream sponsorship
August was a record breaking month on Twitch – thanks to The International 3 and Blizzard’s World Championship Series Season 2 Regional Finals, the online streaming service saw 4.5 million unique viewers on 11 August 2013 alone. This was enough to attract the attention of car manufacturer Nissan.
Nissan has partnered with League of Legends Team Curse. They are working together to promote the Versa Note through an online campaign, yourdoortomore.com. Team Curse has an enormous online reach: they garner an average of 10 million viewers on streams every month and reach about 600k people through social media. Baker Lambert, senior strategist at Nissan’s ad agency explained:
“We chose to connect with e-sports because the yourdoortomore.com campaign lives 100% online, and since eSports isn’t broadcast on TV or any other medium (yet), eSports fans are 100% online. The demographic fits very closely with the demographic we were trying to reach with this campaign, and partnering with eSports also provided us a lot of ‘bang for the buck’ in terms of cost per impression than most other mediums. So, when we stepped back and looked at it — it was finding the right audience in the right place at the right time — and it made perfect sense to be a part of that.”
This could have enormous implications for eSports. We have seen some important milestones recently – LoL pros were recognized as professional athletes for visa applications to the US, Valve giving away a record breaking prize pool at The International 3, and now mainstream companies are advertising with eSports. It’s not just Alienware and Monster energy drinks anymore – this is the first step towards seeing Coke, McDonalds and MasterCard sponsoring the top teams. eSports isn’t just a niche anymore, and blue chip companies are sitting up and noticing.