The Value of Partnerships in Esports: Top 10 Brands on Digital from CWL Las VegasDecember 12, 2018
With a new version published every year, Call of Duty (COD) is one of the biggest games in esports. And with the growing popularity of esports over the last couple of years, the COD World League is one of the premier tournaments that stretches out over a traditional calendar year.
The first event of the COD World League (CWL) season took place in Las Vegas, with over 200 professional and amateur teams competing to win and qualify for the CWL Pro League. The event was broadcasted over multiple digital outlets, with multiple Twitch channels covering different perspectives and matches and one million viewers on Twitter live over the course of the event.
We analyzed the Twitter activity surrounding #CWLVegas using Zoomph. Here are some social insights, top sponsorship activations, and takeaways about what worked and how it could translate to your partnerships.
We measured data from 12/6/18 to 12/9/18, following tweets that used #CWLVegas or #CWLPS4 and tweets by or directed at CWL or any of the teams participating in the event. We also eliminated posts that included content surrounding other games, such as Fortnite, CS:GO, PUBG, or Super Smash Bros.
Here are some of the stats surrounding the event:
- 72.3 thousand posts were made throughout the course of the event across the world, with the majority coming from the US. A projected 41 million people were reached over the four days, registering 1.2 billion impressions.
- Activity increased each day on social media, peaking on Sunday, specifically when tournament champions OpTic Gaming were playing in the final rounds.
- The most mentioned team on Twitter was OpTic Gaming. There were over 20 thousand posts sent either mentioning them on Twitter or using #GREENWALL, their emoji hashtag. The top five teams were:
- OpTic Gaming: 20,562 posts (28% of all posts)
- 100 Thieves: 6,757
- eUnited: 5,663
- FaZe Clan: 5,455
- Team Heretics: 3,646
Traditionally in esports, teams typically have anywhere from two to six sponsors in areas such as headsets, gaming chairs, monitors, beverages, etc. These sponsors are usually all included in any team branding, photos, and jerseys and are given lots of love by the teams in return.
Here were the top brands represented at CWL Vegas. This includes brands that have partnerships with both the league, as well as individual teams.
Jersey manufacturers ARMA created the jerseys for Red Reserve, one of the top 12 teams in the tournament. During the event, they made sure to have the product available for purchase at the event and online to keep up with customer orders that came from the team’s promotion of their uniforms. ARMA set themselves up for success by checking that they had a readymade product, tapping into the right influencers, and knowing where to promote their partnership and product online.
- Total posts, engagements, and interactions around ARMA: 256
- Projected reach: 470K
- Impressions value: $4.9K
The “official jerky of esports” was very active on Twitter during the event. One of the teams they sponsored, J4L, was in the Open Play bracket. They also invited influencers to represent them and meet with teams and fans while at CWL. They are a good example of how a brand can enter a conversation during an event despite not being an “official sponsor.”
- Total posts, engagements, and interactions around JerkyPro: 403
- Projected reach: 77K
- Impressions value: $1.8K
The official headphones of the popular esports team 100 Thieves did not post much during the event but leaned on the power of their audience to share and engage with their content. They were the second-most influential headset company from CWL Vegas, according to Zoomph.
- Total posts, engagements, and interactions around Razer: 559
- Projected reach: 560K
- Impressions value: $3K
Though only mentioned once during the event, the official gaming chair of OpTic Gaming was recognized at the conclusion of the tournament. As noted earlier, most teams have a small list of sponsors and they give plenty of acknowledgment and exposure to these brands. Here’s a great example.
- Total posts, engagements, and interactions around DXRacer: 1,439
- Projected reach: 3.3M
- Impressions value: $17.2K
6. G FUEL
The official energy drink of FaZe Clan, G FUEL made sure to be present at CWL Vegas, despite not being the official beverage of the CWL. Collaborating with news site Dextero to cover the tournament, they were mentioned with all news updates and interviews and offered consumers a discount code on their website.
- Total posts, engagements, and interactions around DXRacer: 2,449
- Projected reach: 2.3M
- Impressions value: $96.4K
5. Turtle Beach
The official headsets of OpTic Gaming, Splyce, and Tainted Minds—three of the top 16 teams in the tournament—Turtle Beach was present on social media regularly throughout the tournament. While they weren’t the official headset of the CWL (more on that later), they made sure to be a part of the conversation, engage with teams on Twitter, and post about the tournament. It didn’t hurt that one of their teams won the whole thing as well.
- Total posts, engagements, and interactions around Turtle Beach: 4,718
- Projected reach: 3.5M
- Impressions value: $56.4K
4. Mountain Dew
Mountain Dew GAME FUEL is the official beverage of both the CWL and OpTic Gaming. At CWL Vegas, Mountain Dew offered samples to attendees, gave away VIP passes and swag to fans who completed a list of objectives at the venue, sponsored the Open Play bracket, and engaged regularly on social media during the event. Both the league and the teams also mentioned Mountain Dew during the tournament. Talk about getting your money’s worth as a corporate partner!
- Total posts, engagements, and interactions around Mountain Dew: 8,583
- Projected reach: 4.2M
- Impressions value: $53.9K
3. ASTRO Gaming
As the official headset and mixamp of the CWL, ASTRO had a very active presence during the tournament. They had the naming rights to the MVP award, sponsored in-game content letting fans listen in with players (pictured below), sponsored quite a few teams at the tournament, and posted over 100 times during the event in ways that enhanced the conversation. Showing the product in action, along with having an active digital presence, was a win for all.
- Total posts, engagements, and interactions around ASTRO Gaming: 14,703
- Projected reach: 3.8M
- Impressions value: $630.3K
2. Scuf Gaming
The official controller of the CWL is also the official controller of notable teams like OpTic Gaming, FaZe Clan, Luminosity, and Red Reserve. During the tournament, they dropped exclusive controller designs with teams, had a booth set up at the event featuring meet-and-greets with teams and streamers, and posted nearly 40 times over the course of the weekend. On top of that, they also sponsored the Play of the Game that came from every match. Being very active on social media and collaborating with teams proved to bring big value.
- Total posts, engagements, and interactions around Scuf Gaming: 26,130
- Projected reach: 8M
- Impressions value: $355.8K
When you’re the presenting sponsor of the CWL, have your logo on all league branding, and are spotlighted in the official hashtag of the league, you are going to receive lots of digital exposure. All matches were played on PlayStation, and PlayStation also sponsored the “Top 5 Plays” daily video series. In just four days, PlayStation reached around 21 million people on Twitter alone, thanks to #CWLPS4 and brand mentions.
- Total posts, engagements, and interactions around PlayStation: 315,136
- Projected reach: 21M
- Impressions value: $2M
- Esports partnerships wield great value. As seen above, partnering brands tend to get a lot of love from participating teams, whether it be from jersey spots, mentions on social, or showcases in streams. Teams also benefit from brands in return by receiving promotion and support during tournaments and collaborating on unique product ideas (as examples). That two-way partnership is so valuable for a positive long-term relationship.
- Never forget to prioritize digital promotion along with your physical activations. Look at how many of the brands listed above posted regularly during CWL Vegas to support their booths, teams, and the overall conversation. Don’t ignore digital and social outlets when looking to enhance your marketing efforts.
- Create sponsored content that makes sense for all parties involved. For example, ASTRO Gaming had a video activation with COD to show off their product. Always think of what the brand’s objectives are, what message the team is looking to portray, and what the end user would find valuable.
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