Esports Automotives: HRxMazda, G2xBMW, AstralisxAUDI, and more
Esports Automotives: HRxMazda, G2xBMW, AstralisxAUDI, and more ⚡⚡⚡ Esports news, analytics, reviews on WePlay! The latest news on WePlay!
Mazda and HellRaisers have signed a partnership contract recently, becoming another esports brand to collab with an automotive company. We even got to HR's Business Development Director Tatiana Kuzmenko and had a short interview with her about the partnership and the future plans. However, this is not the first case of car brands tieing into esports: even without googling, Audi and their collaboration with Astralis immediately come to mind, as well as BMW, who partnered with five organizations in April.
Therefore, let's recall how and when automotive companies began being featured in esports.
If you move to the very beginning of history (namely, in the 90s, we are talking about the history of esports), the first person to receive a car as a winning prize was Dennis "Thresh" Fong. In 1997, he won the very first Quake tournament, got John Carmack's (we hope you know who he is) personal Ferrari, and later sold it, citing the high cost of its maintenance of around $10,000 a year.
Trivia: Thresh pioneered the foundations of esports, namely map resource control and WASD layout. He didn't come up with these concepts, but he was the one who showed the world how efficiently you can play with the right priorities and hands on the keyboard.
Mr. Fong could have made a tradition of such prizes, but at that time no one had the finances for such gifts. Therefore, from 1997 to 2016, there was only one case when an esports player left the tournament in a brand new car. This hero's name is Jonathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel, and he got his hands on the Ford Focus by winning the 2001 CPL World Championship. By the way, the discipline of the tournament was Aliens versus Predator 2, and the car came with a cash prize of $40,000.
Just won the Shamrock Member Guest tournament with long life friend Alex that I’ve known since I was about 7 years old. Shot -25 in a 2 man scramble for two days. 🏆 pic.twitter.com/fhfBp39aZ5— FATAL1TY (@FATAL1TY) July 26, 2020
In 2016, everything has changed for esports and car brands. Hyundai Motors first partnered with the WRC5 eSports WRC Championship and provided one of its cars as the main prize; then Mercedes partnered with ESL; in the same year, Hearthstone CN vs EU Championship was held, with the first place's prize was $22,000 and Ferrari California. By the way, Zhang "lovelychook" Bohan, a representative from China, became the champion of the event.
And it blasted. Mercedes continued their expansion, and soon acquired a stake in the SK Gaming club, and cars of this brand appeared at ESL One tournaments as a separate award for the most valuable player. Thanks to this promotion, zai, MidOne, as well as three Virus.pro players Solo, RodjER, and No[o]ne - acquired their own Benzes. Although without cooperation with the brand, Wiktor "TaZ" Wojtas also got a Mercedes for his loyalty and winning first place at DreamHack Masters Las Vegas 2017 by Virtus.pro's CEO.
Audi entered esports in 2017 and burst into action right away, becoming a sponsor of the Astralis Group, which includes League of Legends and FIFA squads, and Astralis itself, the four-time CS:GO Major winners. A year later, the German brand partnered with Fokus Clan and Schanzer Esports, also FIFA teams. All of these teams have a branded Audi Q7 at their disposal, which is used to travel to tournaments.
Nissan also got off to a strong start with investments in FaZe Clan and OpTic Gaming. The brand's representative was unexpectedly honest: he told that they came to esports in search of a new audience, so the logo will appear on the players' kits and YouTube videos. Bold business. Everything a FaZe Clan fan loves.
The same position was taken by KIA Motors Marketing Director Arthur Martins. According to him, esports allows you to reach out to young people directly. Since then, KIA has partnered with the LEC League of Legends Championship and Rogue Team's LoL squad. In addition, the League of Legends media faces have appeared in commercials for the South Korean giant: below you can see commentator Trevor “Quickshot” Henry testing the new model.
Toyota chose a different path. The Japanese corporation also invited famous personalities to their promo videos and created a collaboration with the Winstrike Dota 2 roster, but sponsoring the tournaments can be considered its main merit. They were there ever since Overwatch League Season One, GR Supra GT Cup series (Gran Turismo), BLAST Pro Series Moscow (CS:GO), and even their own TOYOTA Master Bangkok event.
But there's an Alpha
All these steps seem like small things compared to how BMW entered the market. Five contracts. All are Major and multi-gaming with the maximum coverage around the world: Cloud9 dominates in North America; G2 Esports and Fnatic are known throughout Europe; in Southeast Asia and China, every fan has heard about FunPlus Phoenix; and in South Korea, the interests of BMW are promoted by the famous organization T1.
In addition to the obvious T-shirt logos, sponsorship has allowed partners to shoot joint promo videos, use 'bimmers' when traveling to tournaments, and players from the abovementioned clubs will be recruited to create "hardware and software products that perfectly reflect the needs of gamers."
Hearing about all this madness, the partnership between HellRaisers and Mazda looks modest, albeit logical. However, in less than a day since the announcement, the organization managed to release a stylish video announcement, start developing merchandise and talk about an upcoming video where HR and Mazda MX-5 players will appear (the same Mazda Miata that old racing fans may remember from the NFS Underground series)... Given our turbulent times, when it is more profitable for corporations to invest in digital entertainment than in something traditional, such collabs will occur more and more often.
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