Major CPGs are taking note of the growing audience for esports and beginning to invest in competitive gaming, employing tactics they’ve historically used with sponsorships of major sporting organizations like the National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer. Both Coca-Cola Co. and Kellogg Co. recently activated their sponsorships of Activision-Blizzard's Overwatch League by running sweepstakes.
For its sweeps, Coca-Cola partnered with Circle K to shine a spotlight on new Coke Energy, which launched in January. Consumers who purchase a Coke Energy drink at a Circle K or Holiday Station store and share their phone number at checkout from March 4 to June 30 receive a text message with a link they can use to enter the sweeps and a corresponding instant-win game. The promotion was originally scheduled to end on May 5, but was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Southfield, MI-based Merkle handles.
The sweeps awards 13 winners, one for each of the c-store chain's regions, with a trip to BlizzCon, a gaming convention Blizzard typically hosts in November in Anaheim, CA. Since the 2020 event has been cancelled due to the pandemic, the winners will receive their prize the next time it is held. The prize package also includes a $100 store gift card, $200 to spend on Overwatch League merchandise at shop.overwatchleague.com, a team jersey of the winner’s choice, and a Coke Energy-branded Bluetooth speaker and phone gripper.
The instant-win game awards:
- 5,500 $5 shop.overwatchleague.com egift cards
- 5,000 packs of 100 tokens used to buy cosmetic items within the first-person shooter
- 3,000 digital coupons for a free can of Coke Energy
- 1,000 digital coupons for a bag of private label Circle K Favorites snacks
Facebook updates promote the sweeps. Coke has sponsored the Overwatch League since February 2019. The manufacturer also released a set of custom Overwatch League bottles in September 2019 as part of its “Share a Coke” campaign.
Kellogg Co. became a sponsor of the Overwatch League in August 2019, kicking off activity with a sampling event and viewing party for the Overwatch League 2019 Grand Finals at 1,000 Walmart stores on Sept. 29. This year, the manufacturer ran a sweepstakes from Jan. 2 to April 30 awarding 250 official Overwatch League team jerseys.
Shoppers entered by purchasing specially marked packages of Cheez-It Grooves and Pringles Wavy and uploading their receipts via the Kellogg’s Family Rewards website. One grand-prize winner received a trip to this year’s Grand Finals, though it remains uncertain if the fall event will actually take place as planned.
Kellogg is also currently running a sweeps awarding 10 oversized Overwatch League Upper Deck trading card signed by 10 players, 250 boxes of 21 cards including one signed card, and 500 sets of 200 trading cards. Shoppers enter from April 15 to Aug. 31 by purchasing specially marked Cheez-It and Pringles SKUs or a "Player’s Pack" containing both snack brands, and uploading their receipt via kelloggsfamilyrewards.com.
Retailers have also become invested in esports in recent years. Ahold Delhaize's Giant Food became the first retailer to sponsor an esports team when it partnered with the NBA 2K League’s Wizards District Gaming alongside Procter & Gamble in 2018, while H-E-B signed on to sponsor the Overwatch League’s Houston Outlaws in April 2019.
The global audience for esports is expected to reach 495 million people this year, an 11.7% year-over-year increase, according to a report from analytics company Newzoo.