Non-endemic brand entering esports
Astralis, which is only about a year old, is one of the most beloved teams in esports. The team consists of an all-Danish roster and is a player-owned organization. Its founder, Frederik Byskov, says he’s very happy to see Audi jumping on board.
“It’s fantastic news for esports and a validation of our world, that a non-endemic brand like Audi chooses to work with Astralis and Counter-Strike,” Byskov told Dot Esports. “I’ve been in esports for more than 10 years, and we only created Astralis a year ago. It’s a fantastic way to celebrate the anniversary today. I’m very thankful for the work RFRSH Entertainment has put into this, making it a possibility for Astralis to enter a partnership with Audi.”
RFRSH Entertainment’s Jordi Roig expressed that the upcoming CS:GO major is the perfect stage to kick off the new partnership.
“We are proud to be working with an absolute top-class global mega-brand, and we look forward to see what the future will bring,” Roig said.
While this is not the first time Audi tapped into the gaming industry — having sponsored a 24 Hours of Le Forza live stream last June — it’s the company’s first partnership with an esports organization. With esports’ surging popularity in the last couple of years, it’s no surprise to see big name brands entering the arena.
“It is a very interesting area with huge and strong demographics,” Audi Head of Marketing Christian Weiglin Thorn told Esports Insider. “Looking into the numbers, we saw that there actually is a substantial number of mature people within the esports audience.
Major brands showing interest in esports
Until now, the majority of mainstream brands entering the esports industry came from industries like computers, food and beverage, and communications. But as the industry grows bigger, this is starting to change.
In addition to Audi, the credit card giant Visa signed a “high six figure” sponsorship deal last year with SK Gaming, a major German esports organization.
Adidas is another example of a big name brand that recently started sponsoring a new team. The deal with the French esports organization Team Vitality will put Adidas’ logo on the team’s merchandise and jerseys and will see the two collaborate on events and other social activities. (Even though Adidas has dabbled in esports in the past, this is the company’s big foray.)
One driving factor for new companies to enter esports is its main demographic. Young people, with some disposable income, who are willing to put money into something they enjoy, are a great audience for many companies.
Moreover, the rise of global awareness and mainstream coverage is offering a lot of potential for various advertisers, which is another reason for companies to show interest in the field.