In December, Turner announced a partnership with WME | IMG to form an eSports initiative; one that would involve broadcasting Counter-Strike: Global Offensive match-ups on TBS. That eSports league, called ELEAGUE, continues to expand with key advertising partners getting in on the action. Last week, it was confirmed that Arby’s, Credit Karma and Buffalo Wild Wings will serve as official marketing partners for the group, each taking part in advertising for ELEAGUE events, which kick off next week on May 24 on digital platforms, with a Friday night showcase to follow on TBS. According to the press release from Turner and WME | IMG, the companies involved will have customized, contextual brand exposure with ELEAGUE’s multi-screen coverage, utilizing AdTrack sponsor integration. This will allow the companies to promote during uninterrupted game coverage.
In addition to finding a place on broadcast television, ELEAGUE has also reached an extensive deal with Twitch, one that will feature programming every Tuesday and Wednesday with ELEAGUE match-ups, along with an “alternate viewing experience” to coincide with the TBS broadcast. “Twitch has become the live streaming destination for millions of gamers on a global scale and we’re looking forward to directly connecting ELEAGUE with its passionate community,” said Christina Alejandre, General Manager of ELEAGUE. “We’re incredibly excited for the launch of ELEAGUE and Twitch provides us with a premier destination for fans to congregate and engage with our live event coverage.”
“ELEAGUE presents our partners with an incredibly attractive environment to showcase their messaging to a highly-engaged, dedicated millennial fan base,” said Seth Ladetsky, senior vice president of Turner ad sales, during the announcement last week. “The combination of these brands, and additional soon-to-be-announced partners, underscores the value of our eSports coverage.”
Speaking with [a]listdaily, Ladetsky added, “For advertisers that have followed the growth of eSports, they understand how powerful this environment is, with incredible growth potential. We have been in conversations with brands since we first announced our investment in this space. When you combine all of the value with being an official marketing partner and the trust that we have garnered over the years with advertisers, we are fortunate to already have several partners in place prior to the launch.”
As far as how WME | IMG came about to getting partners on board, Ladetsky explained, “For advertisers that have followed the growth of eSports, they understand how powerful this environment is, with incredible growth potential. We have been in conversations with brands since we first announced our investment in this space. When you combine all of the value with being an official marketing partner and the trust that we have garnered over the years with advertisers, we are fortunate to already have several partners in place prior to the launch.
“Turner is comfortable with developing multi-screen coverage plans and advertiser partnerships for not only our sports coverage, but our breadth of news and entertainment brands, too. With eSports originating on digital, we need to maintain authenticity with how we cover this sport, so digital was an essential part of any plan we developed.”
To conclude, Ladetsky noted how it’s more of a commonplace practice to see partners such as this get involved with eSports. “While we understand it’s still at an early adopter phase, we know many companies are quickly becoming aware of this attractive sport.”
ELEAGUE has already kicked off its advertising for next week’s premiere, with basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal inserting himself into a round of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
We went there. We @Shaq-ified CS:GO.
— ELEAGUE (@EL) May 17, 2016