Activision Blizzard has announced Kellogg Company as a new multi-year partner of its esports Overwatch League (OWL).
The deal will last through 2021 and includes co-marketing initiatives with the company’s Pringles and Cheez-It brands, which will be the presenting sponsors of the halftime show and the highlights segments during this year’s OWL finals.
Analysis and Comments
The deal is a further sign of the growth on eSports monetisation, showcasing the rapidly increasing number of non-endemic brands that are willing to put marketing dollars into eSports.
eSports, while still under-monetised, continues to be one the most high profile platforms for games companies to advertise and broaden their audiences, enabling key beneficiaries such as Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, EA etc. to increase engagement and publicity for their games.
Given recent structural changes within high-profile eSports such as League of Legends and Overwatch (franchising, home and away games, regular season play etc.), we think we could see eSports becoming a profit generator for the games developers (rather than just a marketing tool) sooner than expected.
Notably, MTG Esports, one of the largest US based businesses, recently reported huge growth in its eSports league (ESL). Over the course of the first seven months of 2019, ESL’s data shows that unique users (+90%), hours watched (+190%) and video views (+55%) all significantly increased as a result of fans tuning into properties such as ESL One, Intel Extreme Masters and ESL Pro League tournaments, shattering the numbers recorded in 2018.
It is possible that we could see an professional (multi-game) eSports teams/organisations become sufficiently profitable that they could look to go public, which could materially change industry dynamics.