Bud Light has already made its presence felt in the second season of the Overwatch League. The Dallas Bud Light Homestand Weekend featured two-days of intense pro gaming action and it marked the first time that the tournament has been played away from its spiritual home at the Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California.
There will be three further Homestand Weekends planned for this roadshow event, and Bud Light aren’t stopping there. This is because the beer company will also be making high profile appearances at July’s event in Atlanta, as well as the LA Rivalry Weekend. Things will come to a head when Bud Light branding will feature prominently at the Overwatch League Grand Finals that are expected to be held in Philadelphia later this year.
It won’t just be at the gaming events that fans will get to see the Bud Light slogans, as the beer brand will also sponsor ESPN2 and ABC broadcasting of the Overwatch League matches.
Bud Light had previously found success in their fledgling Bud Light Esports All-Stars program. The Bud Light Esports All-Stars managed to get over 433,000 YouTube views of their documentaries of pro gaming stars, and it helped launch the careers of many players in games including Call of Duty, Counter Strike Global Offensive, Street Fighter V and Hearthstone.
But by partnering up with the Overwatch League, they will undoubtedly reach a larger segment of the US esports audience, as this title has already managed to make significant steps to being treated seriously by the sports mainstream.
In just two seasons, the Overwatch League has become a massive hit on the esports scene. Whilst other esports like Counter Strike Global Offensive have been stricken with a confusing variety of tournaments, by focusing the pro gaming for Overwatch onto a single league with a fixed number of teams, Blizzard Entertainment have helped to make this esport much more attractive to sponsors such as Bud Light.
Efforts like these have helped Overwatch align itself to many more traditional sports in the US. By incorporating a tournament structure similar to the NFL, fans and sponsors are able to get much more familiar with the competing teams and there are even dedicated Overwatch betting resources where fans can go to www.overwatch-bets.com/betway-esports-bonus/ to pick up a bonus to boost their profits on the in-game action.
Bud Light has traditionally partnered up with traditional sports brands in the US. But by increasing their attention towards competitive gaming, it shows just how attractive esports has become to a variety of non-endemic companies. Whilst the thought of alcohol brands teaming up with something as youth-orientated as esports might sound surprising, it’s worth remembering that according to a report by Nielsen, the average age of esports fans in the USA was 31 years in 2017.
As gaming audiences are maturing, we are starting to see more adult-orientated brands aiming to advertise their products to a whole new demographic. Alongside Bud Light’s deals with the Overwatch League, the Chinese beer company, Harbin Brewery, recently partnered up with TJ Sports for the 2019 League of Legends Pro League.
In addition to this we have seen Miller Lite signing a deal that makes them the exclusive alcohol brand for the Complexity Gaming esports team. So whilst esports was once synonymous with energy drinks like Red Bull, it seems that competitive gaming’s maturing audience is starting to attract an equally adult-orientated selection of sponsors.
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