ESports League (ESL) is headed to Gamescom, reinforcing its eSports brand through strategic partnerships and community engagement. Setting up shop in Hall 9, the ESL Arena will host a number of video game tournaments throughout Gamescom including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), Elsword, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Lawbreakers, League of Legends, Overwatch and more. These tournaments are far more than demonstrations—the Heroes of the Storm Fall Regional and Overwatch Atlantic Showdowns each feature a $100,000 prize pool.
Influencers will play a major role in experiential marketing for ESL, pitting Boss Key’s Cliff Bleszinski and his squad against a team of influencers within his upcoming first person shooter game Lawbreakers. The eSports giant has created a number of strategic partnerships for the events, including HP, Intel, Logitech, Nexon and Samsung. These tech companies will in turn have access to ESL’s eSports fans with exclusive activities in their booths. Scheduled events range from YouTuber appearances to VR experiences, as well as cosplay and gaming competitions among a showing of the latest gaming technology. Official partners of the Arena include Kinguin, Lioncast, One.de, Plantronics, Red Bull, Twitch, Wüstenrot Bausparkasse and Zowie.
Not usually associated with eSports, Nintendo is joining the fun as well, hosting a live Splatoon Showdown on the Beta Stage of the ESL Arena on Aug. 17, which will be livestreamed across Twitch and ESL, with Gamescom attendees able to watch the finals live on stage. Splatoon is Nintendo’s family-friendly take on the shooter genre that utilizes teamwork and shoots ink rather than bullets. Perhaps this is a sign that Nintendo wants a piece of that $1 billion eSports revenue.
ESports fans will be able to keep up with the latest goings-on through the official ESL Event App for iOS and Android. The app, designed to keep users engaged for ESL One Frankfurt and ESL One Cologne, includes schedules for all stage and booth activities. Of course, the ESL shop will also be on hand for fans to pick up souvenirs and gear to support their favorite clans.
Being only two months after E3, video game publishers face the challenge of when and where to invest in a large expo presence throughout the year. ESL has an advantage, in that eSports is relevant year-round—unlike E3, Gamescom is open to the pubic and also happens to be the largest video game event in the world, making it the ideal place to build hype around its culture of eSports.