Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 27 No. 5
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Esports Properties Focusing On Growing Non-Endemic Sponsorships

Adidas' Milos Ribic says the brand views esports like soccer in that it’s a global sport with cultural relevance
Photo: TONY FLOREZ
Adidas' Milos Ribic says the brand views esports like soccer in that it’s a global sport with cultural relevance
Photo: TONY FLOREZ
Adidas' Milos Ribic says the brand views esports like soccer in that it’s a global sport with cultural relevance
Photo: TONY FLOREZ

Growing non-endemic sponsorships is a major goal of esports properties, so a panel on partnership ROI at the Lagardere Esports Rising conference had attendees' full attention. Industry execs dished on everything they’ve learned in the space, how they judge success and what they demand from esports properties who they sponsor. A-B earlier this year filed for the trademark “official beer of esports,” and Bud Light Dir of Sports Marketing Joe Barnes talked about creating a presence in the space beyond logo exposure. Barnes noted that Bud Light can’t definitively attribute a sponsorship to a specific amount of potential sales lift. Therefore, Bud Light is focused on growing affinity for the brand more so than exposure, and has done so by, among other things, creating new Bud Light-sponsored esports events and airing them on its Twitch channel. Bud Light also is starting to use its Twitch channel to bring in NFL players and stream them as they watch football games. 

MIXING THINGS UP: Adidas Dir of Corporate Ventures Milos Ribic noted the brand's endorsement deal with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, as well as its partnership with the Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is a passionate gamer. Ribic said that Adidas is viewing esports like soccer in that it’s a global sport with cultural relevance. Meanwhile, Jack in the Box has a deal with Envy Gaming and its teams in Overwatch League and Call of Duty League, and Dir of Marketing & Communications Sheena Dougher said that it has applied to esports its internal motto of “be the curly fry,” or be different and unique in brand messaging. This is the third year of Jack in the Box’s deal with Envy, and Dougher said that the brand has learned more each year, culminating this year with a digital animated series called "Fuel House" that involved both the “Jack” mascot of the QSR and the team’s players. Dougher said animation is esports fans' "love language." He said, "It’s this fantasyland they go to -- so with equity in the team and Jack in the Box, what better way to tap into the players than Fuel House?"