North American beverage giant Coca-Cola is going to keep sponsoring eSports in 2015. Last week, the company issued an official statement concerning their engagement. This year, their focus lies on the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and all of the adjoining events.
Whereas last year’s sponsoring agreement was dedicated to the newly introduced Coke Zero Challenger Series, the year 2015 is now all about the new Coca-Cola slogan ‘New Year, New Look, Next Level’. Focusing on the LCS, League of Legends and eSports, Matt Wolf, head of global gaming at Coca-Cola, stated: “This year fans can expect more of everything – more cinema viewings, more social engagement and more opportunities to indulge their passion for eSports through Coca-Cola”.
The declared target for the renewed partnership is in particular, so Wolf, to expand the cooperation launched last year and give the fans significantly more possibilities to experience live events, also through social media channels. ““We’ll be on the ground to activate and celebrate the sport, building what we started in 2014,”Wolf said.
Coca-Cola instead of Coke Zero
Concerning the brand changes and the new cooperation, it is obvious that Coca-Cola takes their engagement in eSport seriously. Before, only Coke Zero was chosen as the visible brand, now it is going to be the company’s flagship product and top-selling brand, Coca-Cola. All live events of the LCS and live broadcasts are going to be part of the branding campaign.
Coca-Cola takes eSports into cinemas
TTo furthermore strengthen the importance of upcoming live events, Coca-Cola announced that they would bring eSports onto the silver screen. This would be accomplished in cooperation with their partner Cinemark and League of Legends developer Riot Games.
A similar marketing campaign was done successfully during the League of Legends world cup in 2014 and is supposed to be expanded in the following sponsoring-period, not only in North America but in Europe as well.
Riot Games is picky when it comes to sponsors. Only the biggest names in sponsoring are part of the LCS, like Coca-Cola, and there is a reason for this. Riot Games, organizer of the farthest-reaching eSports-league in the world is quite picky when it comes to signing marketing contracts with other companies.
“We could have a lot of sponsors tomorrow if we wanted, but we want to have only a few very meaningful partners that fully align with our demographic and understand how to activate with our players. We don’t want to be the Nascar of eSports with logos everywhere,” so Dustin Beck, VP of eSports at Riot Games, commenting on a Reddit article.
Riot Games seem to stick to their motto and stick to one partner, which is not normal in the eSports-business. Some change their sponsors on a regular basis. An example for this was the case of EIZO and BenQ.
Where previously there were only five partners to identify, Coca-Cola joins as the sixth partner. In the year 2013, Plantronics, Alienware and Logitech were named official sponsors, however they were renounced quite quickly and were replaced by American Express at the end of that year. In 2014, Coke Zero joined in. Also, US premium cable and satellite network giant, HBO, joined for a quick campaign, advertising the fourth season of their hit series Game of Thrones during live broadcasts.
Now, Coca-Cola joins the small list of LCS-sponsors and we are looking forward to see which brands will join in in the future. In the words of Matt Wolf: “The landscape of gaming is a very exciting one for any large brand.”
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