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 032: Visa and Formula E


TNL eSports Brand Tracker 036: Visa (Photo: Formula E)

TNL Take: The first EU Financial Services Brand makes the eSports investment with Visa Europe's Sponsorship of Formula E's eSports Pro Series.

This deal makes sense for a few reasons:


Visa has long been associated with Auto Racing and is currently a Sponsor of Formula E's main electric Racing Series. Overlapping that Sponsorship into eSports is a no brainer and they may not even have paid that much.


Along with sponsoring the live streaming eSports events, Visa gets an opportunity to activate onsite at Racing events as they did recently in London.

Visa London ePrix eSports Event (Photo: Formula E)


This was more than likely known when the deal was announced in April, but Formula E and Visa also get distribution on UK's 24/7 eSports channel, Ginx TV, through a recent deal.

While those are all good there's one very big challenge.


Racing eSports has no audience


While I've said this before - and believe this will change over time - it's very challenging to drive viewership for Racing eSports as 2016 is basically Year Zero for the genre.

Here's the audience for a June race:


Who was the audience for the London ePrix event when I checked?


Racing eSports Lack of Audience (Photo: Twitch)

Racing eSports Lack of Audience (Photo: Twitch)

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 005: Ford Fuels Forza

TNL ESPORTS BRAND TRACKER 005: Ford Fuels Forza eSports

(Photo: Forza)

(Photo: Forza)

TNL Take: The Auto category continues it's investment in eSports and is clearly the dominant new Ad vertical this year.

Ford, Forza and supporting partners Logitech and Michelin are teaming with ESL to run a series of tournaments with the winner getting a 2017 Ford Focus RS.

Parts of the tournament will be broadcast on Twitch and won't drive much viewership - but I don't think that's super critical here.

More importantly, at its core, there are key components that help fuel every part of the ecosystem:


  • Brand (Ford): Perfect integration and will definitely see solid ROI vs. other car giveaways.


  • Publisher (Microsoft): Their game. Their platform.


  • League (ESL): Showcase a top Brand the opportunity on their platform.


  • Audience: Last and potentially most important of all, it involves the amateur level of eSports play and anyone can participate.


The previous point on amateur play will get a lot more important to eSports going forward.


You gotta have some seeds to grow the garden.


Eventually the Auto Brands will need to experiment in something different than the Racing genre but again a good start and another big name to the TNL Brand Tracker.


So far in 2016, we've seen Auto related Brand investment from Ford, Audi, Michelin, Turtle Wax and previous sponsors Geico and Nissan.


*Ford did do a small event around Le Mans 2016

(Photo: Forza)



TNL eSports Brand Tracker 031: Audi and 24 Hours of Le Forza

TNL ESPORTS BRAND TRACKER 031: Audi and 24 Hours of Le Forza

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 031: Audi (Photo: Audi)

TNL Take:  Auto is enormous in terms of Ad spend estimated at ~$9B in 2016 for Digital alone.

This doesn’t even include the accessories category either like Turtle Wax who have already sponsored OpTic Gaming.

Auto Brands have been reluctant to make the investment in eSports to date.

Auto Category eSports Investment (Photo: The Next Level)

However, we're now starting to see a few Auto and related Brands testing the waters. 

Both Audi and Michelin had sponsorships tied to the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans racing event and we'll begin with Audi.

TNL eSports Brand Tracker 031: Audi (Photo: Audi)

Perfect tie in with Audi's larger history with Le Mans and a great first entry into eSports.

My recommendations for Auto Brands considering eSports:

/01 Just Jump In

One day’s worth of TV spend would more than enough cover a test of the space with a prime, engaged audience.

/02 Don’t Focus on Racing Alone

It makes complete sense to attach yourself to Auto content for your first run — no pun intended. The challenge there is that the viewership is currently not that high.

Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Hockey aren’t auto related but provide engaging content and the right audience for Auto Brands.

eSports provides the same.