BMW signed a cooperation contract with five well-known esports organizations, namely Cloud9, Fnatic, FunPlus Phoenix, G2 Esports, and T1 Entertainment & Sports. Through this partnership, the German car maker will provide a vehicle to take the team to and from the competition venue. These cars will display the logos of each team.
Meanwhile, the BMW logo will be embedded in the jersey members of the esports team. Together with these five esports organizations, BMW will also create a campaign on social media. Unfortunately, it is unknown how much the cooperation between BMW and the five esports organizations. According to Forbes estimates, BMW’s collaboration with each team can reach millions of dollars.
Cloud9, Fnatic, FunPlus Phoneix, G2 Esports, and T1 all have teams that compete in various games, such as Dota 2, Hearthstone, Super Smash Bros., and League of Legends. Interestingly, the five esports organizations are rivals in League of Legends, even though all five are competing in different regions. T1 competes in the South Korean league, while Cloud9 in North America, and Fnatic and G2 are teams from Europe, reports The Esports Observer.
“We will not work together,” said CEO and Co-owner of G2 Esports, Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez, as quoted by Forbes. “We will fight each other instead.” Indeed, in marketing campaigns that BMW is doing with these five esports organizations, they will use the hashtag #UnitedinRivalry.
This is not the first time BMW has entered the world of esports. They first became sponsors of esports in 2017. At that time, they became sponsors of the final round of the European League of Legends league. In addition, they have also been title sponsors of the BMW SIM LIVE virtual racing tournament in 2019. Even so, BMW’s decision to work with five esports organizations at the same time shows how serious they are in the world of competitive gaming.
“In the long run, esports will be our top priority,” said Stefan Ponikva, Head of BMW Brand Experience Shows & Events, according to a Forbes report. He explained, in the end, the funds that BMW allocated for esports would exceed the cost of sponsorship for traditional sports, such as golf and racing. “As a digital generation, young people rarely watch TV and don’t really care about traditional marketing models. Esports will be our tool to get closer to them. “
Indeed, esports is now on the rise, especially in the midst of the corona virus pandemic. Newzoo estimates, the number of esports viewers reached 454 million people. Within three years, that number will increase by 190 million more people. While in terms of business, the esports industry is estimated to be worth US $ 1 billion by 2020. In addition to the large and growing number of viewers, another thing that makes esports interesting is the fact that most of the esports audience is millennial or gen Z generation. Esports audiences are usually more often watch live broadcasts on streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch rather than television.
Ponikva also revealed that the funds that BMW used in collaboration with five esports organizations were not taken from other marketing costs. Instead, BMW plans to reduce the costs they incur to hold offline activities such as trade shows. Even so, Ponikva realized, the esports audience would not buy a car in the near future. Therefore, he admitted, BMW’s investment in esports might not be able to bear sweet results in the near future.
“When the time comes, we will know that we have made esports fans love BMW,” Ponikva said. “And we will be the first car brand they can remember.”