WHAT IS BMW DOING IN ESPORTS?

BMW Shifts Marketing Spend To Esports With Eye On Tomorrow’s Drivers

  • BMW is making a monumental shift in its global marketing budget with an entry into esports that it hopes will cause mind share among subsequent generations of consumers.
  • The luxury German carmaker unveiled a partnership it formed with five gaming organizations, Cloud9 within the US, Fnatic within the UK, FunPlus Phoenix in China, G2 Esports in Germany, and T1 in South Korea, with the goal of capturing eyeballs glued to computer game competitions in titles like League of Legends, DOTA 2, Fortnite and FIFA.
  • “In the future, esports is going to be our biggest footprint,” says Stefan Ponikva, head of BMW Brand Experience Shows & Events, adding that esports will eventually eclipse spendings on sports like motorsports and golf. “The younger generation, being born digital-first, doesn’t really care about TV or traditional advertising. Esports is our tool to succeed in them.”
  • Video game competitions reach a worldwide audience of 454 million, with a minimum of 190 million more expected to be watching in three years, per industry analysts Newzoo. The overwhelming majority of them are millennial-aged and younger and favor streaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Mixer over traditional television, a beautiful target the 104-year-old automaker aims to use to buttress its $29.8 billion brands.
  • BMW first dipped its toe into computer game competitions in 2017 when it sponsored the ECU Championship Series Summer Finals for Riot Games’ League of Legends. LOL is one of the world’s hottest esports titles, with eight million simultaneous players daily; its 2019 World Championship Final between FunPlus and G2 in November attracted an audience of quite 100 million.
  • The five esports organizations that BMW partnered with even have massive engagement and reach on social media, with a combined 8.1 million followers across Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, 11 times as many as BMW across equivalent channels. As a part of the partnerships, the teams will challenge each other before tournaments, employing a campaign motto “United in Rivalry” as a hashtag on social media and streaming platforms.
  • The BMW marketing push was announced because the coronavirus lockdowns have turned the spotlight on esports, which has supplanted more traditional sports on networks like ESPN that have found themselves with a scarcity of programming as leagues pack up.
  • That’s been a plus for esports organizations, with G2 alone seeing a 30% increase in engagement and reach among fans across its various content platforms and social media. In December, billionaire Joseph Tsai, an Alibaba cofounder and therefore the owner of the Brooklyn Nets, made a $10 million investment in G2 to become a minority owner. G2 is worth $165 million, consistent with Forbes’ most up-to-date valuation, up 57% from the prior-year supported $22 million in annual revenue.
  • BMW began discussions with the teams last year, eventually signing each of them to individual deals. G2’s Rodriguez said that his team features a three-year deal which he was unaware of the specifics of the other organization’s deal.
  • The carmaker didn’t disclose the terms, but a year ago it took team sponsorship for a test drive, signing an initial contract with Cloud9, the foremost valuable company in esports, worth $400 million on revenue of $29 million in 2019. supported information collected to compile that valuation last fall, Forbes estimates BMW can pay each team a low-seven-digits figure annually, making it a top spending partner in esports.
  • BMW’s Ponivka explained that funding for this partnership wouldn’t be at the expense of anybody’s marketing-budget item. Instead, the corporate was looking to decrease its footprint in certain experiential marketing areas, like trade shows and live events, and reallocating that cash toward esports.
  • On top of social media and content collaborations, BMW is going to be given land on each team’s jerseys and can provide each organization with a fleet of customized team-branded vehicles to ferry players to events. Additionally, the corporate will lend its German engineering to the esports organizations to assist design hardware and software products for gamers’ future needs.
  • With car ownership still distant from the minds of the automaker’s consumer target, Ponikva admits the payoff to all or any this might be an extended time coming.

BMW’s esports marketing undergoes ‘major expansion’ amid coronavirus

  • BMW signed on to sponsor five of the world’s leading esports teams, the corporate revealed during a handout.
  • The sponsorship will cover Cloud 9 (U.S.), Fnatic (U.K.), FunPlus Phoenix (China), G2 Esports (Germany), and T1 (South Korea), which each has about 200 players that compete within the League of Legends.
  • Marketing across the team will include the mottoes “United in Rivalry” and “United reception .” BMW also promoted esports through technology and worked with the teams to style team vehicles. The #unitedinrivalry hashtag is going to be employed by teams and fans on social channels and streaming platforms to create friendly rivalry across teams before tournaments.
  • BMW’s presence within the growing world of esports is undergoing a “major expansion,” per the corporate because it looks to drive engagement with a replacement generation of potential customers around the world. The timing of the build-up in esports during the coronavirus pandemic isn’t a coincidence, with esports an example of how sports entertainment can continue at a time when live sporting events are canceled, per the corporate.
  • “Esports shows us how sports entertainment can still thrive and play a key role considering today’s challenges. Our entry into esports is motivated by a commitment to become a sustainable, global partner, supporting the teams and therefore the discipline as an entire, before, during, and after these times of uncertainty,” Jens Thiemer, SVP of customer and brand at BMW, said during a statement.
  • The brand’s goal is to use its design and innovation skills to assist shape the discipline while working toward deeper integration with the esports community. The corporate also hopes to show the teams it’s sponsoring into household names within the overall sports and show business because it looks to introduce esports to a broader audience.
  • BMW began sponsoring esports in 2017, when the corporate signed on because of the official partner of the ECU League of Legends finals in Paris, per the handout. In 2019, the German carmaker sponsored the BMW SIM LIVE premiere at BMW Welt in Munich.
  • The esports sector has been on the upswing for years, attracting a good sort of consumers from countries around the globe to both virtual and in-person events. Last year, the League of Legends World Championship Finals, which was held within the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, garnered a worldwide digital audience of 44 million people that viewed the Livestream reception, per BMW.
  • Esports ad revenues have also been on the increase, with ad sales estimated to succeed in $200 million this year within the U.S. alone, consistent with an eMarketer report from last year. As coronavirus lockdowns continue and in-person sports are canceled, esports has a chance to grow even larger by reaching bored consumers with stuck reception.
  • BMW joins other brands including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Kellogg Snack Brands, and Coca-Cola, which recently signed a multiyear entitlement partnership with e-NASCAR, which also are increasing marketing activities around esports.

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