Cloud9 and Vitality Land Crypto Casino/Betting Partnerships, NFL and Madden Esports Renew, and More!
EWD: News for Week of 8/8/22-8/21/22
Topics: EA, NFL, Gambling, Cloud9, Team Vitality, Nike
Nike x Rekkles
Karmine Corp’s Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larsson, one of the most iconic faces of LoL, becomes only the third esports athlete ever to partner with Nike. Marketing agency Surge Management helped land the deal for Rekkles.
The partnership includes a featured Rekkles section in the Nike app, customized apparel recommendations and workout plans for esports fans. Additionally, he posted a powerful video on his Twitter centered around hard work and the challenge to "capture your power." In his voiceover of him running in Nike kicks, working out, and gaming, he said:
There's power in everyone. The challenge is to capture your power and let it flow through you when the moment calls for it. Maintaining clarity of mind, staying sharp, that's the hard part.... power is work that pays off. If I make it look easy, it's probably because I took the hard way to get there.
The collaboration focuses primarily on encouraging exercise for fans and steer them towards the large selection of Nike sportwear/apparel. Although we've seen fitness and therapy become more of a priority amongst esports organizations, this is a new way of promoting health and wellness to the gaming cohort who are generally more lethargic.
Absolutely love this partnership from Nike. Landing an esports legend and athlete (both in-and-out of game) of this caliber, is a huge moment for the esports and gaming space. It's not only great for Nike to continue making its mark in esports with their already established partnerships with LPL and BLAST, but I also like how they didn't steer away from their great storytelling. They've leverage their traditional sports athletes regularly to inspire and encourage ordinary people to to be aware of their strengths, reach their goals, and achieve something greater than anyone else ever has.
Cloud9 x BC.GAME
As the official online Casino/Gaming and Sports Betting Partner, BC.GAME will be supporting Cloud9 on primarily CS:GO-related initiatives. Throughout this multi-year partnership, BC.GAME will receive logo placement on all CS:GO team jerseys and across the CS:GO team’s digital channels. They will also be providing content and giveaways to their fans, ultimately bringing them closer to our CS:GO team.
Jack Etienne, Co-Founder and CEO of Cloud9, commented on the partnership:
We’re excited to partner with BC.GAME! BC.GAME is committed to supporting our teams and creating more content with our players to give greater access to our fans.
Beyond content and a jersey patch, I wonder if BC.GAME has other plans up their sleeves to activate their brand with such a prominent organization. It's apparent that they're attempting to broaden access and information of the rapidly growing crypto casino space to the esports community.
Team Vitality x GG.BET
GG.BET becomes the official International Betting Partner of Team Vitality's CS:GO team. According to Team Vitality, the partnership will create unique experiences and activations for the community at events. Other parts of the deal include producing "next-gen" content and the bookmaker’s logo having "prominent visibility" on the Team Vitality CS: GO jersey.
According to the press release, GG.BET is an international esports betting company that strives to create the best esports betting experience for its users. The bookmaker sponsors PGL and ESL while also collaborating with over 100 esports streamers and content creators. GG.BET already has strong roots in competitive CS: GO, working with teams such as Na’Vi as well.
GG.BET made it clear that they plan on strengthening the bond with international Team Vitality fans. Dmitry Voshkarin, CEO GG.BET, spoke on the partnership:
For GG.BET, this is a logical stage of our plans to expand into new markets and provide continuous support for esports’ development. We are looking forward to implementing joint projects and will work hard to make GG.BET users and Vitality fans happy.
One caveat on this partnership that was noted with an asterisk at the end of the press release is that access to, and visibility of, the Team Vitality GG.BET partnership varies depending on local betting restrictions. Although I'm not familiar with betting restrictions internationally, I'm left curious if these restrictions would be enforced in specific US states at all.
Zedd x HyperX
HyperX signed DJ, record producer, and songwriter Zedd as ambassador. HyperX will serve as the Official Gaming Audio and Gaming Microphone Supplier. The gaming peripherals provider will leverage Zedd’s popularity by promoting several original products, including custom and limited-edition headsets and peripherals.
Zedd’s already deep-rooted passion for gaming made the 2 parties a perfect match. He commented on the partnership, saying:
HyperX has supported my passion for gaming since we first connected via Twitter, several years ago. Their products are a major part of my gaming lifestyle and I am grateful for the ongoing support. I’m eager to kick off our collaboration, which dives much deeper than a typical partnership.
According to the HyperX press release, Zedd joins a growing line-up of more than 25 HyperX ambassadors, including football player JuJu Smith-Schuster, basketball players Gordon Hayward and Aerial Powers, tennis player Daniil Medvedev, international soccer players Dele Alli and Casemiro, professional race car driver Sage Karam, skateboarder Minna Stess, streamer Valkyrae and social media sensation Bella Poarch.
HyperX has been one of the mainstay in esports and gaming. Securing partnerships with teams, players, and leagues over the years as an endemic brand, their overall marketing strategy appears to be going beyond just the avid gamer. Collaborating with athletes and celebrities certainly bridges that gap between professional players, casuals gamers, and the respective ambassadors’ fanbase. Love the diverse roster they’ve cumulated over the years and excite for what’s to come out of this Zedd partnership.
Complexity x Denny's
Complexity and Diner Chain Denny’s partnered to work with Complexity's female creators and “amplify female voices and rising creators.” Through a series of sponsored streams, this initiative aims to highlight the organization’s roster of female creators and give back to their inclusive and diverse communities, via in-stream rewards.
Justin Kenna, CEO of GameSquare Esports expanded on the goals of the initiative:
We want to continue to create opportunities to showcase Complexity’s talented roster of women and creators of color, and this campaign will both recognize these creators and their viewers for their unwavering support,” said Justin Kenna, CEO of GameSquare Esports.
4 sponsored streams will take place between August and September featuring these Complexity content creators:
Beccatilts - a Twitch Ambassador and one of the latest content creators signed by Complexity, primarily streaming Teamfight Tactics
Emily Wang - an attorney-turned-streamer from Michigan, she has created an inclusive community around Teamfight Tactics
Vicky Palami - an Apex Legends player and content creator from Mexico, she was recently recognized as the 8th most-watched woman on Twitch
Ninjayla - a content creator for Complexity who primarily streams Apex Legends on Twitch
Viewers can expect “pancake drops” that give viewers Denny’s-specific prizes such as free delivery, coupons, merch, and more.
Another amazing partnership that uplifts female voices in the gaming space. I'm not entirely sure where Denny's fits in Gaming, but doing an initiative like this along with prizes/coupons and a prominent org like Complexity is certainly impressive.
Electronic Arts (EA) x NFL
Electronic Arts (EA) renewed its partnership with the NFL to continue to work together on developing the Madden NFL Championship Series (MCS) in a multi-year extension. The new agreement will further align MCS with NFL events, with both parties working on creating content around the game. MCS’ prize pool has also increased this season to $1.7m.
The season will begin this month (August 2022) with what’s deemed the “Ultimate Kickoff” and will have an event in November around the Thanksgiving holiday. The “Ultimate Wild Card” qualifiers event as well as the Last Chance Qualifiers will take place between November and January. The “Ultimate Madden NFL 23 Bowl will be held at the end of the 2022-23 NFL calendar season during the week of Super Bowl LVII.
Ed Kiang, VP, Video Gaming at the NFL, commented:
Extending our partnership with EA is another avenue for the League to grow fandom off the field and enhance the EA SPORTS Madden NFL Championship Series by aligning Madden competitive gaming with NFL moments.
Also to note, Campbell’s Chunky Soup will return as a partner for the event and will hold naming rights for the aptly named virtual Campbell’s Chunky Stadium.
According to EA, the 2021 season was the most viewed in Madden Esports history, recording four times as many views compared to the year before. Although I haven’t seen the viewership figures, or quite frankly watch the MCS to date, I see no reason why Madden won’t be the most watched sports video game in NA by the end of this renewed extension. As long as MCS is blended into NFL’s ongoing content periodically and isn’t put to the side, I think it should succeed as an esports going forward.
Tiffany & Co To Redesign LoL's Summoner's Cup
In a new multi-year collaboration with Riot Games, luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co will redesign the trophy awarded to the League of Legends world champions'. Tiffany & Co will unveil this year's Summoner’s Cup globally on August 29th. The new Summoner’s Cup weighs 44 pounds (about 20kg) and stands approximately 27 inches tall (66cm). Over the course of four months and 277 hours, the artisans of Tiffany & Co brought the contemporary design to life.
This is not the first League of Legends trophy that the company has designed. The Summoner's Cup for LoL esports now sits with other famous sports championship trophies, like the LoL Pro League (LPL) Silver Dragon Cup, which was also handcrafted by Tiffany & Co.
Naz Aletaha, Global Head of League of Legends Esports for Riot Games said:
As we looked to build on the prestigiousness of winning a World Championship, there was only one partner we aspired to collaborate with on the Summoner’s Cup. Tiffany & Co is a storied brand and the preeminent designer of the world's greatest sports trophies. We’re honoured to partner with them to celebrate our past, present, and future World Champions.
Since 1860, professional sports trophies such as the Lombardi Trophy and the Larry O'Brien trophy have relied on Tiffany & Co trophies to honour the highest levels of achievement, and the company has become known worldwide for the quality of its work. Alexandre Arnault, Executive Vice President of Product and Communication at Tiffany & Co said:
Creating the Summoner’s Cup is another important moment for Tiffany in the world of esports and an exciting new chapter in our 160-year legacy handcrafting sports trophies.
There isn't another more prominent luxury brand with such a storied history making iconic sports trophies than Tiffany & Co. Spending over 4 months creating this trophy shows how much they care about making cherish able moments that matter most for the prospective world champion LoL players.
Through this partnership and other sport league deals, Tiffany & Co's strategic objective is surely a combination of enhancing their brands image and gaining media exposure in association with the best moments in sports. Generally speaking, Tiffany’s target market is upper middle and upper class women who are in the Gen X, Y, and baby boomer age ranges. Working with the most popular esport fills that void of not being able to reach a Gen Z, predominately male audience. They're definitely hoping to hit on those objectives noted prior for this audience demo.
Red Bull Campus Clutch Announces Partners
Red Bull has announced 4 partners for its global university Valorant tournament series titled "Red Bull Campus Clutch." According to Esports Insider, three brands return to support the tournament in its second year. This includes:
PC brand Intel NUC
peripheral manufacturer Steelseries
monitor brand AGON by AOC
The tournament also welcomes gaming chair provider Backforce, with the company supplying ergonomic chairs for players at physical events. All of these endemic sponsors will be providing equipment for the tournament.
The Campus Clutch first began in 2021, bringing events to 50 countries, with 25,000 students participating for its grand prize of $20,000 (~£16,500) as well as tickets to the next VALORANT Masters event. The tournament aims to showcase amateur talent and create a path to becoming a professional player. This year, the event will take place in December with a LAN final in São Paulo, Brazil.