When you have to name a brand which is doing an outstanding, successful and sustainable marketing job, you make no mistake by naming energy drink maker Red Bull. Coming with a fat purse the global player manages to be on everyone’s lips, or at least on everyone’s field of view.
This success is no accident. Red Bull is well positioned in (almost) every field that fits its target groups, especially when it comes to sports: Red Bull owns a Formula 1 team (Red Bull Racing) and a Major League Soccer team (New York Red Bull), contracted a ton of athletes in several (extreme) sports and hosts a bunch of sports-related events.
But what does Red Bull have to do with esports?
In fact, Red Bull is one of those early adopters who realized that eSports will become a mass phenomenon. Making its first steps into eSports in 2008, the global brand did not only play a part in contributing to the growth of eSports in the upcoming years, it also became an inherent part of the eSports market due to its marketing efforts.
Therefore we want to take a closer look at the eSports activities of Red Bull which perfectly show that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to promote your brands or products successfully in eSports, but you have to understand the needs of your target group and the structures, features and risks of the market.
1. Red Bull hosts eSports events
By keeping the motto “Do what you do best” Red Bull is the host of various eSports events worldwide, having sessions in the United States, France and Germany and being named ‘Red Bull Battle Grounds’, “Red Bull Clash Course’ or ‘Red Bull Team Brawl’, coming with individual tournament formats, coverage and capitalization of players and fans.
Regardless of whether the events take place in New York, Paris, Los Angeles or Cologne or are being held in League of Legends, Dota2, HearthStone or Destiny, it’s all about competition, it’s all about eSports. Players or teams compete against each other and rise to the top to earn money, prizes and fame, made possible by Red Bull, exactly fitting the company’s slogan ‘Red Bull gives you wings’.
|Red Bull Battle Grounds||StarCraft II / Dota2||Website|
|Red Bull Gaming Ground||Dota2||Website|
|Red Bull Kumite||Ultra Street Fighter 4||Website|
|Red Bull Clash Course||Destiny||Website|
|Red Bull Team Brawl||HearthStone||Website|
|Red Bull Player One||League of Legends||Website|
|Red Bull Quest||Destiny||Website|
2. Red Bull sponsors eSports players
Moreover, Red Bull sticks to its (marketing) strategies from other (sports) fields by contracting several eSports players. Red Bull thinks big! The eSports players do not only belong to the best of the world from a sports perspective, most of them also belong to the most famous ones in terms of popularity, reputation and reach.
|Masato Takahashi (Bonchan)|
Ultra Street Fighter 4
|Erik Lestach (hakkijunior)|
|Choi Ji Sung (Bomber)
|Soren Bjerg (Bjergsen)|
League of Legends
|Darryl Lewis (Snake Eyez)|
Ultra Street Fighter 4
|immy Ho (DeMoN)
|Mike Chavez (Flamesword)|
Call of Duty
|Marie-Laure Norindr (Kayane)|
|Dave Walsh (Walshy)
|Matt Haag (NaDeSHoT)|
Call of Duty
|Enrique Martinez (xPeke)|
League of Legends
|August Rosenmeier (Agge)
All Images: © Red Bull Media House
One of the most popular faces of Red Bull eSports athletes is Soren Bjerg, also known as Bjergsen (in game name), who is currently playing for the American League of Legends club Team SoloMid. While having 300,000 fans on Facebook, the Dane also has the support of 633,000 twitter followers. His twitch.tv stream, on which fans from all over the world can watch his casual games, counts more than 68 million views and has more than one million subscribers.
Another famous eSports athlete who has joined the Red Bull eSports family quite a while ago is Matt Hagg (Nadeshot). He is the most famous Call of Duty player in the world, who has a huge fan base on YouTube (2,4 million subscribers / 302 million channel views) and is followed by more than 1.5 million fans on twitter, half a million fans on Facebook and almost 800,000 on Instagram. In addition to his activities on his own channels and streams, Hagg is the face of several video formats produced by Red Bull eSports.
The two of them are joined by popular eSports players from around the world, every single one being a successful and highly regarded part of their specific eSports community.
3. Red Bull partners with eSports clubs
Although Red Bull showed to be hesitant to officially sponsor eSports clubs for quite a while, it seems like a fundamental change has taken place at the end of 2015 when Red Bull announced the sponsorship cooperation with two of the biggest eSports organizations worldwide, Team SoloMid and Cloud9.
— Team SoloMid (@TeamSoloMid) January 15, 2016
The partnership does not only make Red Bull the official beverage partner of the clubs, it also includes the development and production of new live and non-scripted content formats with the teams and players.
Moreover the cooperation is used to improve the athletic prowess of the athletes: “We will work with Red Bull to significantly improve the physical, mental, and mechanical performances of the team in order to perform at the highest professional level”, said Andy Dinh, owner of Team SoloMid.
4. Red Bull produces eSports-related video content
To round out its efforts, Red Bull provides high quality eSports video content in various formats. Whether it’s a documentary about a player/team or it’s a recap of an event, the video content focuses on Red Bull and simultaneously eSports related happenings, such as ‘Cultivation: House of Snake Eyez’, a 5-part series which follows Darryl Lewis (Snake Eyez), Red Bull eSports athlete and Street Fighter pro gamer, and chronicles his adventures through America and Japan as he trains to become the 2015 Capcom Cup Champion.
|Video Series||Total Views||Playlist|
|Red Bull - Cultivation: House of Snake Eyez||746,000||Watch now|
|Red Bull - OpTic Gaming: Behind the Green Wall||590,000||Watch now|
|Red Bull - Destiny Drop Zone||407,000||Watch now|
|Red Bull - Byte Size||112,000||Watch now|
|Red Bull - Changing Lanes||54,000||Watch now|
|Red Bull - One Final Run||50,000||Watch now|
|Red Bull - Player Select||20,000||Watch now|
|Red Bull - The Business of eSports||10,000||Watch now|
5. Red Bull connects with the players
Most importantly Red Bull manages to connect with the target group of its eSports content, namely the players, gamers and eSports enthusiasts. Each event, each announcement and each activity is accompanied by actions on several social media channels, such as YouTube, Google+ and twitter – consistently branded as ‘Red Bull eSports’.
|Red Bull eSports (social) media||Followers||Total Views|
|Red Bull eSports||76,000||13,784,000|
|Red Bull eSports||65,000||6,075,000|
| Red Bull eSports||-||1,640,000|
| Red Bull eSports||185,000||-|
In terms of eSports events Red Bull is also on the spot by having its own twitch.tv channel, the number one medium for eSports related livestreaming content. On this channel Red Bull broadcasts its eSports tournaments, eSports shows and other eSports related streaming content. Up until today day the channel has 75,000 subscribers and 13.7 million total channel views.
In addition to its activities on the social media channels Red Bull publishes a wide range of eSports content on its website on a regular basis. The articles and news feature current events, interviews, recaps, Best Ofs’, event coverage, player portraits and a lot more insights. On top of that, Red Bull provides interactive content to engage with the websites’ users, such as the vote for the ‘Best Player’ or similar campaigns.
Red Bull eSports: King of content marketing
Overall you can say that Red Bull stays with its marketing strategies from other (sports) fields and manages to adapt those to the eSports market perfectly. All eSports related marketing efforts by Red Bull fit to the corporate philosophy: It’s about lifestyle, it’s about stories, it’s about success, it’s about challenges, it’s uniqueness. The full package!
And contributing profound, well thought-out and versatile content to this package by contracting eSports pro players, by partnering up with eSport clubs, by producing high quality videos, by hosting renowned eSports events and by connecting with the players, makes Red Bull the king of eSports content marketing.
- 5 reasons to advertise in eSports – esports-marketing-blog.com
- eSports in 2015 by the numbers– esports-marketing-blog.com
- The most famous eSports pro players in LoL, Dota2 and CS:GO– esports-marketing-blog.com
- TSM Gets Their Wings – tsm.gg
- Cloud9 and Red Bull Announce Official Partnership – cloud9.gg
- twitch.tv – The 2015 retrospective – twitch.tv
- Red Bull eSports: Official Website – redbull.com
— eSportsMarketingBlog (@eSportsMBlog) March 14, 2016