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Volume 24 No. 113
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State Farm Names ReKTGlobal As Agency Of Record For Esports And Gaming

State Farm has named ReKTGlobal as its agency of record for esports and gaming, a sign the insurer’s sponsorship of the North American League of Legends Championship Series is only the beginning of a much broader play. The relationships reunites State Farm with ReKTGlobal CEO Dave Bialek, a '09 SBJ "Forty Under 40" honoree. Bialek is credited with bringing the idea of buying advertising space on basketball hoop stanchions to State Farm in the '00s. The NA LCS deal was targeted by State Farm because of the Riot Games property’s dominant position in esports, but others are coming, Bialek said. "It’s fair to say we’re in negotiations with a handful of other leagues and properties, as well as teams, to make a meaningful position in the market for State Farm,” said Bialek. State Farm follows Geico, which has sponsored ELeague and Team SoloMid, as a major insurance brand into esports.

SOMETHING NEW: State Farm Advertising Dir Ed Gold said he was deep into evaluating the industry as a way to extend the insurer’s exposure to younger viewers in '17 when Bialek and entrepreneur Amish Shah founded ReKT, with backing from Mets co-Owner Fred Wilpon’s Sterling Select fund. They negotiated the Riot deal together. “We are definitely at a tipping point of seeing more brands get involved in esports, but again this is an audience that is not used to having brands that involved, and we obviously want to make sure, once we get involved, we get it right,” Gold said. “Because what’s the old commercial? There’s only one chance to make a first impression.” In the Riot deal, State Farm gets branding rights to the analyst desk during broadcasts and is also sponsoring a content series. To date, ReKTGlobal has advised Harrisburg Univ. on starting an esports program and also counts the nonprofit Find Your Grind as a client.

For more coverage of the business of esports, visit our partners, esportsobserver.com.