For brands that are non-endemic to the esports space and looking for an example to follow, State Farm should do the trick. Just this year, the insurance company announced a multi-year sponsorship of the Overwatch League as well as a sponsorship of the incredibly popular professional Fortnite streamer, DrLupo. The brand was also the first non-endemic sponsor of the NBA2K League and announced a partnership with League of Legends last year. We spoke with State Farm marketing director Ed Gold, a member of the Esports Business Summit’s advisory board, about advice for brands considering an esports sponsorship. Following is an excerpt of our conversation.
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Ed Gold, marketing director at State Farm
Event Marketer: The esports space is growing at a very rapid pace; there are new entrants all the time. Tell us something that you’ve learned about it in the past year.
Ed Gold: Probably the biggest learning that we got from a State Farm standpoint, and we’re looking at it from a non-endemic brand getting involved in esports, is that we have seen only positive sentiment, returns, impressions, in regards to what we’re doing. There was a lot of apprehension there, but from day one, when it was announced that we were partnering with League of Legends last year, the community has only embraced State Farm. They see a major, traditional regular sports advertiser getting involved in their sport and bringing legitimacy to what they’re doing and what their passion points are. There was apprehension, but it has paid off by the embrace that we felt from the audience.
EM: Where do you see the biggest potential for growth in the esports business?
EG: I think the biggest potential is still in the future. Esports developed in the way traditional sports develop. It’s not that they developed football in one day and boom, football became a really popular sport. It took time and it took effort and it took people getting involved at younger ages and then it became a part of their life. People grow up playing catch with their dads, right? Now people are going to be getting online and playing League of Legends or Madden NFL or NBA2K or Candy Crush or Tetris. The future is the great opportunity here.
EM: Are there any issues with that rapid growth?
EG: The issue is that esports is not one thing, unlike baseball and the NFL. Each game within the esports world is its own game in the same way League of Legends is the NFL and Overwatch is Major League Baseball. And partly because of that, and because esports is very technology based, this audience also looks for the next new thing. At one point, when PUBG came out as a Battle Royale …read more