The eSports industry is a growth market right now. There is a constant stream of firsts which demonstrate how its popularity is on the incline. You just have to take a look at some of the industries competitions to see how popular it is. From the Overwatch league, now afforded cover by ESPN, through to the annual DOTA 2 tournament with a huge prize pool in excess of $25 million. Competitive gaming is on the up.
It doesn’t just have a cult following anymore either. If you log on to the ESPN website it tracks stats for many existing eSports and it isn’t just a sport that is shared on YouTube either. Up until recently, Twitch dominated the broadcast of eSports and while it is still the place to go to watch many of them several TV deals are now in place with ESPN and the Turner Broadcasting all recently making an attempt to get a slice of the eSports pie to increase their ratings. And like with any sport there is always a clamouring of advertisers looking to emblazon their logo over the events to help sell and promote their brand. While eSports has been no exception to this it would appear that a huge sponsor is attaching itself to the industry, America’s most beloved beer, Budweiser!
Showing their intentions
Nothing has been confirmed yet but all the signs seem to point to the brewing giant entering into the fray. It was reported on DotEsports that the company that makes Budweiser, Anheuser-Busch has applied for several trademarks that probably are a good indication of their intentions. It claims that it applied to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to have the following phrases copywrited:
“the official beer of esports,” “the official beer of gaming,” and “the official beer of gamers.”
I’ve heard that before
Those phrases might trigger something in you, perhaps a sense of familiarity, let’s be honest it’s not like they haven’t used “the official beer of…” for just about everything they have ever sponsored. The phrase can be seen in pretty much every sport, ever. The NBA, The NFL. Budweiser’s commercial approach can be seen throughout all the levels of sports in the US even sponsoring way down in local minor leagues. The beer knows how to brand itself!
Budweiser branching out
It would appear pretty obvious that the beer is now trying to impose its presence on the eSports industry. Many would feel it is about time too! It’s not like they don’t cover just about every other sport on the planet. You can’t have an egg and spoon race without seeing the Bud logo and with eSports coming more in line with their physical counterparts such a notable sponsorship partnership almost seemed inevitable.
Know your audience
This really shouldn’t come as much a surprise should it? Video games and drinking beer go together like apple pie and ice cream. I mean sure there is a young demographic watching gaming stream, but the audience for eSports, rather than just general gaming channels tends to be older. Plus it’s sort of a moot point, after all, there are plenty of kids watching the NFL and there are plenty of beer adverts in that! Plus it’s not like we are talking about the ads appearing in games themselves.
Why the delay
The burning question is what took Budweiser so long? There has clearly been a massive rise in the popularity and it’s questionable what took them so long to jump aboard. With streams of eSports outstripping the Superbowl they have been missing out on some serious exposure. It will be interesting now to see what sort of deals they come up with, one thing is for sure, it’s another indicator of the growth of eSports.