Mercedes-Benz agreed to become the primary sponsor of League of Legends global events. The partnership represents the german automaker’s most significant step into the world of esports sponsorships. Last year’s League of Legends World Championship peaked at nearly 4,000,000 viewers.
Summary of the deal
Mercedes-Benz will develop branded content, dedicated commercials, social media content, and ad artwork for the popular Riot Games title with this partnership.
Per the terms of the agreement, Mercedes-Benz will serve as the sponsor for the League of Legends World Championship, Mid-Season Invitational, and All-Star event. The German automobile company will also serve as the presenting sponsor for the trophy ceremonies.
This sponsorship deal is a wise step for League of Legends. Attracting a prestigious international brand like Mercedes-Benz grants legitimacy to League of Legends as it seeks to grow its user base globally.
Riot Games’ Head of Global Esports Partnerships, Naz Aletaha, commented on the move calling Mercedes-Benz, “the first luxury automotive brand to truly embrace esports at a global scale while developing a deep understanding of the unrelenting passion fueling the game and the League of Legends esports community.” For Mercedes-Benz, it provides an opportunity to further dive into the esports market, becoming synonymous with the industry’s success.
Vice President of Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Bettina Fetzer announced the move in a press release saying, “In cooperation with Riot, we want to create collaborative experiences for esports fans and give them an emotional connection to our brand.”
Why is Mercedes-Benz interested in esports?
Mercedes-Benz has been a longtime supporter of the esports industry. The automotive company is the chief partner of China’s League of Legends Pro League. Over the last three years, they have also served as the official Chinese sponsor for the League of Legends Worlds competition. They have also sponsored ESL and SK Gaming and field players under Mercedes AMG Petronas Esports.
Mercedes-Benz has seen the return on investment from previous esport sponsorships and keeps pursuing additional opportunities. That alone bodes well for the esport industry.
The uncertainty of traditional sports likely contributed to these new investments in esports. The COVID pandemic derailed traditional sports, and esports teams are more insulated from these concerns. Viewers can tune in from any internet-connected device, rather than traditional sport reliance on in-person crowds.
How the brand relevance of Mercedes-Benz affects esports
Mercedes-Benz’s involvement in esports is undoubtedly a positive development for the industry. It is the latest escalation in the automotive sponsorship arms race. Esport sponsorships are very popular among automotive companies. This year’s League of Legends World Championship began on Sept. 25. Of the 22 participating teams, automotive companies sponsor six of them. Sponsors include companies like Audi, KIA, Honda, and BMW.
Furthermore, automotive companies have scrambled to sponsor esport leagues and significant events. Hyundai sponsors the World Rally Championship, Porsche sponsors the iRacing esports World Championship, and Toyota sponsored the Overwatch League in 2018. By becoming the League of Legends major championship series’ official automotive partner, expect to see other non-endemic companies following suit with large sponsorship deals for the eSports industry’s most significant events.