TNL Esports Brand Tracker 107: Wendy's

TNL ESPORTS BRAND TRACKER 107: WENDY'S

TNL Brand Tracker 107: Wendy's and EA Madden NFL (Photo: Twitter Blocky)

TNL Brand Tracker 107: Wendy's and EA Madden NFL (Photo: Twitter Blocky)

TNL Take: Welcome Wendy's to the esports pool.

This past week saw the company enter esports with a partnership with EA and their Madden Club Championship Series.

Previous brands have included Gillette, Pepsi, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Snickers to name a few.

TNL Esports Brand Tracker 107: Wendy's and EA Madden NFL (Photo: Twitter xxxBalkino6xxx)

TNL Esports Brand Tracker 107: Wendy's and EA Madden NFL (Photo: Twitter xxxBalkino6xxx)

While Wendy's sponsorship integration of the Miami Dolphins leg of the Club Championship wasn't anything out of the ordinary; it's great to see another brand enter the esports ecosystem.

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 019: McLaren

TNL ESPORTS BRAND TRACKER 019: MCLAREN

McLaren Enters eSports (Photo: YouTube)

McLaren Enters eSports (Photo: YouTube)

TNL Take: McLaren has opened up a new job role: they're looking to fill the "best job in eSports," or a one-year gig working as a McLaren simulator driver, through a competition to find the World's Fastest Gamer.

While the real "best job in eSports" is obviously giving hot-takes about the various Brands entering the scene and terrible research reports, we can humor them a bit.

World's Fastest Gamer Ad (Video: YouTube)

The World Fastest Gamer will pit 10 aspiring racing players against each other in a series of matches, engineering challenges, and their demonstration of teamwork. 6 will be invited to the event, while 4 will qualify through various online competitions.

World's Fasest Gamer Video (Video: YouTube)

The campaign was set in place by agency IDEAS+CARS (who launched professional team eSPORTS+CARS last year), which was founded by Darren Cox of GT Academy fame. For reference, GT Academy was a 2008-2016 television competition by Nissan and Playstation in which the year's winner got a job as a professional racer for Nissan.

Where have we heard that before?

GT Academy (Source: ilvideogioco)

GT Academy (Source: ilvideogioco)

The other partners for this event are LogitechG, who are pushing their steering wheel peripherals, Sparco, who were the gaming chair sponsor for the FIFA Ultimate Tournament this year, and GIVEMESPORT, the event's media sponsor.

Sparco FIFA Ultimate Team Sponsorship (Photo: Sparco)

Sparco FIFA Ultimate Team Sponsorship (Photo: Sparco)

Interesting to note is that the games for the competition have not been named, but will span PC, console, and mobile titles.

With the Sparco sponsorship and EA having a Racing title, will all the games be only from EA as this helps with both securing permission to run the competition and unifying the brand?

2015 McLaren 650S Coupe in Forza Horizon 3 (Photo: Forza)

2015 McLaren 650S Coupe in Forza Horizon 3 (Photo: Forza)

Racing games are a neglected topic among eSports viewers and players. The "premier" titles are iRacing and Project CARS, for their strict focus on competition and skill. Unfortunately almost any decision on game titles for this event, especially the inclusion of mobile, will be a polarizing one.

Racing games are tough from a viewership perspective but good from a casual fan viewpoint. 

It's a good genre for McLaren to invest in to preserve their traditional fanbase while growing a new one as the Auto Brands come cruising into eSports this year.

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 009: Buffalo Wild Wings and Madden Club Series

TNL ESPORTS BRAND TRACKER 009: BUFFALO WILD WINGS AND MADDEN CLUB SERIES

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 009: Buffalo Wild Wings and Madden Club Series (Photo: YouTube Patriots Club Series Championship)

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 009: Buffalo Wild Wings and Madden Club Series (Photo: YouTube Patriots Club Series Championship)

Announced in December of last year, the Madden Club Series was an initiative by Madden publisher Electronic Arts (EA) to present the NFL clubs an opportunity to dip their feet into eSports. Eight teams signed on for the inaugural season: the Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, and the Kansas City Chiefs. Not only did the teams sign on, but so did many of their brands.

TNL Take: We've heard them again and again in eSports: they've advertised on ELEAGUE - not the best start but a fantastic fix during the 1st Season - the Bdubs Bowl run by Twitch owned MUTHEAD and sponsored content with EA Madden Athletes (Disclaimer: Frank "Stiff" Sardoni Jr. is an Athlete for VS. Sports, part of the Versus Sports Media company that owns The Next Level) 

Walk into a BDubs while your favorite eSports event is on television and more than likely they'll swap a TV over to the right channel. 

You could watch the Madden Club Series finals at a Buffalo Wild Wings through the NFL Network, but the brand was also a sponsor of the Club Series qualifier events for both the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots.

How did they Buffalo Wild Wings present themselves at these events?

Pretty well compared to the other brand integrations during these events. We'll get to the others in a series of follow-up TNL Brand Tracker posts.

Buffalo Wild Wings In Game During The Vikings Club Series (Photo: Youtube Vikings Club Series)

Buffalo Wild Wings In Game During The Vikings Club Series (Photo: Youtube Vikings Club Series)

Buffalo Wild Wings was advertised during two of the eight qualifiers, specifically the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots qualifiers.

They ran a number of in-game banner ads (above), on the player backboards (below),

Buffalo Wild Wings In Game During The Patrios Club Series(Photo: Youtube Patriots Club Series)

Buffalo Wild Wings In Game During The Patrios Club Series(Photo: Youtube Patriots Club Series)

and the Vikings countdown clock (below),

Buffalo Wild Wings In Game During The Vikings Club Series (Photo: Youtube Vikings Club Series)

Buffalo Wild Wings In Game During The Vikings Club Series (Photo: Youtube Vikings Club Series)

and quenched the thirst of the commentators (below).

(Photo: Youtube Patriots Club Series)

(Photo: Youtube Patriots Club Series)

Well done Buffalo Wild Wings.

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 007: FedEx and Madden NFL

TNL ESPORTS BRAND TRACKER 007: FEDEX AND EA SPORTS MADDEN NFL

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 007: FedEx and EA Sports Madden NFL (Photo: EA Sports)

TNL Take: This one is borderline but I'm going to include it in the TNL Brand Tracker for now.

Outside of the huge presence that McDonalds had during this past weekend's Madden Bowl in Houston, I happened to also notice another big Non-Endemic Brand: FedEx.

FedEx is a NFL partner and has had previous partnerships with Madden including delivering free copies of Madden 17 to unsuspecting fans during this year's launch.

Madden Ultimate Team was also the game mode played in the Madden Bowl and that's another area that FedEx is involved with:

FedEx and Madden Ultimate Team (Photo: EA Sports)

Sponsored rewards has shown to provide effective ROI and positive brand sentiment for years within the gaming space. FedEx was also shown alongside the McDonald's Ultimate Team packs and rewards in game.

In a smart integration, there is a "FedEx Air 7 Ground" Player of the Week in the NFL, which is also part of the Madden 17 promotion and allows players to upload their highlights to be voted on to win.

FedEx Air & Ground Plays of the Week (Photo: EA Sports)

While this maybe a hybrid of in game/eSports Sponsorship, any Fortune 500 companies investing in the space is a good thing.