HyperX is taking advantage of the recent trend of real-life athletes investing in eSports. The gaming accessories company first signed Utah Jazz All-Star, Gordon Hayward, a die-hard gamer and former Halo pro player. Most recently, the gaming accessory company (a division of Kingston Technology) signed Boston Celtics player Jonas Jerebko through his Detroit Renegades eSports team.
HyperX director of marketing, Daniel Kelley, told [a]listdaily that the recent entry into eSports by the likes of the Philadelphia Sixers and aXiomatic (which includes Magic Johnson and the owners of the Chicago Cubs) has changed the dynamic of eSports.
“The NBA is out in front more than other sports, and will continue to get more involved in eSports,” Kelley said. “At HyperX, we’re trying to get wider awareness of us building really good products for those who like to game.”
HyperX has been supporting the eSports community for over a decade. The company markets products like the HyperX Alloy FPS keyboard and the HyperX Cloud Stinger gaming headset. HyperX also sponsors over 30 eSports teams, including Rick Fox’s eSports team. Kelley said the new deal with Jerebko’s Renegades is similar in structure to the one with Fox.
“When we started talking to Jonas, it made sense to bring him on as part of the organization and team,” Kelley said. “Primarily due to Jonas and his own passion for eSports, he sees eSports growing to greater heights. We’re sponsoring an up-and-coming team, but Jonas also has all these other fans from the NBA.”
Kelley said active players like Jerebko and former greats like Fox elevate the conversation to the larger media, taking note of what’s going on in the greater eSports space. As eSports continues to grow, the stage is getting bigger. “Representative athletes and personalities that are doing right by eSports and helping to eliminate the stigma that it’s not a sport is what we’re interested in having,” Kelley said. “We’re interested in working with these traditional athletes getting involved in eSports.”
Kelley said that on paper, the Renegades deal is similar to Echo Fox, in that HyperX is sponsoring the team itself. But because Jonas wants what’s best for the team, he’s willing to throw in support from his personal brand as much as he can. “It’s a little organic in that nature,” Kelly said. “We don’t need to sign separate agreements, although that may be in the future. Jonas sees us as a strategic partner in Renegades’ future success. He wants to represent HyperX as much as he can.”
Although Hayward doesn’t own an eSports team, Kelley said the NBA star epitomizes the “crossover athlete,” and has a history and passion for eSports. “It’s a mutually beneficial relationship in that his name and brand is so positive and seen by so many fans of the NBA, and notably the Jazz,” Kelly said. “It gives us a great additional leg of our brand. His ability to communicate about eSports and represent it to mainstream media and his fans is so genuine and solid.”
Kelley admits that signing Hayward was a little bit of a gamble for the company, but in hindsight, it was a great investment of time and sponsorship dollars because he’s so passionate about the scene and where it’s going. “It gives a lot of great opportunities to do fun things together,” Kelley said. “We had Gordon at an in-store event where he was playing games along with fans, and he joked that he can tell his wife that he has to play games because he’s sponsored by HyperX.”
HyperX is also one of the primary sponsors of Turner and WME/IMG’s ELeague, which is in the midst of Season 2 of its CS:GO tournament. Kelley said he looks at ELeague as a long-term investment. “We know that any new league will have its own learnings and ways to adapt as it grows,” Kelley said. “We’re pleased with the production value and their aggressiveness to grow the types of games over the next couple of years and seasons. They have a strong and growing following. It might not be at the highest levels from the initial expectations, but it’s solid, and we’re looking forward to where the seasons are going.”
HyperX debuted a new commercial over the weekend on ELeague, which markets the fact that the company makes really good gaming gear for the hardcore and casual PC and console gamer. “We want as much wide-reaching awareness for the brand,” Kelley said. “ELeague’s TV component has helped us reach a wider audience and explain who we are. And when they’re in a retail environment, they’ll hopefully think of us.”
Kelley said that the company is seeing a positive effect from the commercials through ELeague, which is the only television programming they’ve targeted to date. The commercials direct gamers to buy HyperX products at Best Buy or Amazon. “Our commercial for the first season of ELeague was more high-level, showing an array of headsets to highlight the variety of products,” Kelley said. “Our second commercial is more focused on Cloud Stinger, but we leverage that we’re the official headset sponsor of ELeague in the last 10 seconds.”
The messaging of the new spot is that HyperX has been a sponsor of eSports for a long time. “We have a lot of the best teams and organizations in the HyperX family,” Kelley said. “We have players putting on our headsets and we represent our brand and the DNA that we’re part of eSports.”
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