NFL and Enthusiast Gaming Launch Tuesday Night Gaming, FaZe Clan & McDonald's Renew, and More!
EWD: News for Week of 8/22/22-9/4/22
Topics: Partnerships, FaZe, Gen.G, Twitch, Fortnite, NFL, McDonald's
FaZe Clan x McDonald’s Renewal
FaZe Clan has renewed its partnership with McDonald’s USA. Both parties will launch new initiatives and ‘double down’ on previous campaigns. To kick off the renewed partnership, FaZe Clan and McDonald's had a presence at PAX West this past weekend. McDonald's will be hosting activities for fans at their booth, including a meet-and-greet with FaZe talent, and sponsoring a showcase that gives FaZe talent the opportunity to preview and play new and soon-to-be-released games at the convention.
According to the FaZe Clan press release, the partnership will include exclusive new original content and IP featuring FaZe talent. This is building on successful campaigns from last year, such as the FaZe Clan x McDonald's "Spotlight" series, which drew over 2.4 million total views, and the "Friendsgaming" livestream event that drew in over 300,000 live viewers.
Lee Trink, CEO of FaZe Holdings, Inc. said this about the renewal
McDonald's has been an exceptional partner for FaZe Clan, as they understand the creativity and authenticity needed to engage with a younger, diverse audience. I'm thrilled to renew our partnership with McDonald's USA, as we bring together FaZe Clan's community with McDonald's brand power.
Team Vitality x FACEIT
Esports tournament organizer FACEIT will collaborate with Vitality to launch a range of new initiatives including a hub for French CS:GO players. Team Vitality will utilize FACEIT’s infrastructure to create a hub that aims to cultivate talent. The top five players will compete in the FPL Challenger qualifiers, with a chance to take part in a league where top teams scout for new players.
The organization will also launch a clan enabling fans to organize tournaments across France giving undiscovered talent a spotlight. According to the Vitality x FACEIT page, the Clan is a "special place for fans to gather, socialize and play Counter Strike together. You can join it for free, although the subscription does give you some advantages."
Within both of these opportunities, there's the opportunity to earn rewards in the form of FACEIT points, skins and much more. One's in-game skills give you opportunities to consistently win prizes on Counter Strike, merch and an exclusive VIP reward
Love this partnership for both parties. This is for whatever reason the 1st time FACEIT has created a hub as part of a team partnership for fans to join together and climb the CS:GO ladders. FACEIT has recently created a gaming academy and mentorship program recently in partnership with Gucci as well. FACEIT is taking the angle to use partnerships to build communities of amateur players that are striving to become professionals. I wouldn't be surprised at all if FACEIT continues to create these fan engagement clans and hubs with other respective esports organizations.
For Vitality, your able to build fan affinity, allow fans to create clans and hubs that consist of passionate Vitality fans, and potentially find the next hidden gem of amateur talent under the organizations name.
Gen.G x SmileDirectClub
Gen.G will present "SmileXP," a 3-episode series over 6 months to track your favorite streamers' progress towards a healthier, straighter and more confident smile. Gen.G streamers Shannon Williams, Jessica Kim and Krystalogy will be joining the #SmileClub and chronicling their experience on-stream as well as social media pages over the course of their 'Smile Journeys'.
The streamers and their audiences will participate and compete against each other's communities throughout the campaign, participating in smile-based challenges. All the while, just watching the stream puts viewers in a spot to win various prize giveaways, including headsets, SmileDirectClub premium oral care products, Twitch subscriptions and more.
Martin Kim, CRO of Gen.G said this about the partnership:
A great smile is one of the first and best ways you can make an impression on someone, and SmileDirectClub has made a strong impression on us to bring our communities together. It's rewarding to work with a partner who values mission-driven community growth, and we look forward to launching this campaign together."
According to the press release, with SmileDirectClub and Gen.G both appealing to the teenage demographic, the partnership seamlessly came together and will also feature a social sweepstakes that will give one lucky winner the grand prize of free SmileDirectClub Clear Aligner treatment. For context, SmileDirectClub has helped over 1.7 million customers around the world achieve a new smile, furthering its goal of enabling access to a smile each and every person loves. Key points for them is making it accessible, affordable and convenient for everyone.
Gen.G adds SmileDirectClub as another non-endemic brand jumping into the gaming space this year along with partners Mobil 1™, Toyota, 1Password, McDonald's and Proctor & Gamble's Always and Tampax brands. In my opinion, a key point of success for new non-endemic brands in gaming is providing value in a needs-area for such an ad-averted audience. Having prize giveaways, content, and seeing legit progress of Gen.G creators teeth on stream will certainly provide that value for fans to engage or potentially even buy the product for themselves.
Guild Esports x Samsung
The partnership extension will see Samsung provide hardware for the organization’s esports players, as well as its offices and backroom staff. As the Company's Official TV partner for the U.K. and Ireland for one year, the combined value of the deals amounts to six figures in pounds sterling, of which over 75% will be payable in GBP and the remainder as value in kind.
Kal Hourd, Chief Executive at Guild Esports, said:
Samsung has been a fantastic partner over the past 12 months and we are delighted that they are deepening our partnership with a new sponsorship deal for their globally-admired television brand as well as an extension of our existing relationship. This is a resounding validation of Guild's reach and value proposition by a world-class consumer brand, and we look forward to collaborating with them even more closely to deliver to our young and engaged esports audience.
It was interesting to see the breakdown of 25% value in kind vs. 75% actual sponsorship spending/activation fees. Not too many details on how they'll activate, but having the players/HQ using Samsung hardware is obviously important.
NFL Tuesday Night Gaming Collaboration
NFL and Enthusiast Gaming collaborate to launch NFL Tuesday Night Gaming, where teams will compete head-to-head across popular video game titles. This first-of-its-kind gaming collaboration will bring together NFL players/legends and top gaming content creators from popular gaming organizations including Luminosity Gaming.
NFL Tuesday Night Gaming will debut on September 13th at 6:30 PM ET, and stream live on YouTube in the United States and Canada on Tuesdays during the 2022-2023 NFL season. Here's a breakdown of what fans can expect to see this upcoming TNG season:
A rotating roster of 12 NFL players or Legends and six gaming creators competing.
Played across 3 game titles each week.
After each week's gameplay, teams will be ranked with the top 4 teams qualifying for a single-elimination playoff.
One team will be crowned champion of the inaugural NFL Tuesday Night Gaming season.
The season will conclude with an All-Star Game during Super Bowl Week. Fans will choose their favorite NFL players or Legends and gaming content creators to compete in a special edition gaming night. The winning team will receive a cash prize to donate to the charity of their choice.
Included in the schedule are three bye weeks, where NFL players and gaming creators will take a break from the NFL TNG competition for NFL Family Game Night (FGN). NFL FGN is designed as a platform for families and younger fans to play alongside their favorite players and gamers.
This partnership will also produce daily, always-on content throughout the season, including, pre-and post-game analysis, highlights, plays of the week, and more, leveraging the scale of the NFL and Enthusiast Gaming's network of gaming assets. Bill Karamouzis, President of Enthusiast Gaming commented on the collaboration:
No one has brought together the gaming community with any sports league for a program of this scale before. NFL Tuesday Night Gaming is a new and exciting content platform for brands and agencies to connect with younger audiences through bespoke custom content and talent integrations, including owned moments, featured segments, social activations, and more.
This is precisely how a partnership should be delivered with traditional sports entities: fully integrated, multiple touchpoints, content (w/both content creators and athletes), competition, fan engagement opportunities, charity involvement, and ability to coincide with a globally recognized spectacle. There's a clear vision, purpose, and connection between both the Enthusiast network and NFL in this program, and I can't get over how awesome it is.
I'm curious whether there will be the ability for Enthusiast to promote these weekly events on the official NFL and/or influencer/athlete social platforms, whether it be a simple Instagram Story or other NFL asset. The TNG social platforms are obviously brand new accounts, so building a following or algorithm that reaches both gaming and NFL fans is an important next step. As more content and weekly competitions come out throughout the season, I'm sure fans will fall in love and come back for more!
LOUD Secures Betting Partnership With Midnite
Brazilian esports organization LOUD has partnered with betting platform Midnite. The deal will see LOUD promote Midnite’s brand through the organization's content on social media and video platforms. In addition, LOUD’s parent company Spacecaps has invested an undisclosed amount in the betting website, becoming an advisor for Midnite throughout its expansion plans.
According to Esports Insider, the initial campaign will run for four months from September to the end of the year. Both companies, however, are looking to aim for a long-lasting relationship, with the first stage serving as a pilot to guide future activations.
One critical asset will not be leveraged due to league restrictions from Riot Games regarding promotion of betting companies: a jersey patch. Midnite’s branding will not be featured on LOUD’s jerseys. As a result, Midnite can't be promoted/activated during the Brazilian League of Legends Championship (CBLOL) finals.
Beyond investment from LOUD's parent company, this is clearly a brand awareness play for Midnite (a UK-based company) in Brazil locally. LOUD, alongside FURIA, is one of the m0st prominent esports organizations in the Brazil region.
iHeartMedia Launches iHeartLand in Fortnite
With iHeartLand, iHeartMedia will host 20 Major Events at State Farm Park over the next year. Built using Fortnite’s Creative toolset, iHeartLand combines compelling gameplay with a persistent cadence of entertaining events, programming, and "one-of-a-kind fan experiences," per the iHeartMedia press release.
Conal Byrne, CEO of the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group said that their goal is to meet audiences where they are and delivering innovative programming. This includes a full calendar of music and podcast performances at State Farm Park. He added:
From interactive performances and intimate backstories to immersive game play, native to the platform – this new world allows us to extend the reach of today’s biggest creators, artists and personalities in groundbreaking ways, and is a big next step for iHeartMedia in expanding our engagement with our users.SS
The launch will kick off with a two-part performance by GRAMMY-nominated singer, songwriter and producer, Charlie Puth–the superstar’s first concert in the metaverse–on September 9 at 7 p.m. ET. This event will be followed by an album release party with new music performed for the first time in celebration of his upcoming album CHARLIE. In addition to sharing information and new music from his upcoming album, Puth will be hosting an interactive game designed to test fan knowledge leading up to his big shows inside iHeartLand.
iHeartLand will be dynamic, developing a story of its own just like Fortnite; undergoing periodic changes and refreshes; and periodically introducing new minigames. Matthew Henick, VP, Metaverse Development for Epic Games explained that iHeartMedia and Atlas Creative have created a "compelling look at a future of Fortnite where artists and brands can independently and authentically connect with fans in new and persistent ways at scale."
The island features, according to the iHeartMedia press release:
A screen attached to the main stage where users will enjoy concerts, shows and programming, a red-carpet area where players can snap selfies as well as a countdown clock for players to keep track of the next big event.
A lawn with food and tents where players can use gold (an earnable currency specific to iHeartLand) for items including a fireworks flare cannon and Boogie Bomb emote, which will make other users dance when hit with one.
Minigames: Players will enjoy a variety of competitive, fun and engaging minigames that will reward users with gold. The games will also provide an opportunity for users to unlock special experiences like gameplay competitions with artists themselves
iHeart Headquarters: Players can head inside the iHeart building to view a small-scale overhead map of the island to find their way throughout iHeartLand, a broadcast recording studio and iHeart’s famed radio Tuning Tunnel found in its actual New York City headquarters.
This is probably the most detailed metaverse experience I've ever seen, thanks to Fortnite's creative toolset capabilities and Atlas Creative (game developer specializing in Fortnite Island development). At this current moment, and after analyzing this partnership, I firmly believe that Fortnite is the best game to build metaverse experiences in. Not only is there a great game developer in Atlas Creative that brings them to life, but also the game itself is so popular already. Fortnite isn't a random world on [input random world browser-based platform] that nobody sees the benefits of interacting with.
The next step for the gold currency that's built in this creative world is for players to earn special skins and tangible rewards that can be used across all Fortnite game modes.
Twitch Lets Partners Stream on Rival Platforms
Twitch partners can now stream on rival platforms YouTube, Facebook Live and more, just not while streaming on Twitch at the same time. The company wrote in an email:
When we first developed the Partner Program, we felt it was important for streamers to focus solely on Twitch for livestreaming to build their communities. We still believe that Twitch is the best place for creators to build and engage with community. We also recognize that the digital landscape has changed since we first introduced the Partner Program and that many of you engage with your communities in many different places. So, we are updating our policy.”
This doesn't mean that partnered Twitch streamers can simulcast on adjacent-streaming services simultaneously. Twitch believes that engaging with two streams at once can lead to a “suboptimal experience” for viewers. However, the company says it’s aware that some partners want to use other services to grow their community, so simulcasting on TikTok and Instagram Live is allowed.
Although I don't think this will change big-name Twitch creators' decision to sign exclusive deals on rival platforms, it's certainly a big step for smaller Twitch partners to grow their brand and get discovered easily across other social platforms.