How brands can succeed in Europe by reaching engaged communities

Reading time: 4 minutes

As technology evolves and the way people consume content changing seemingly every year, it can be incredibly challenging for brands to engage with new audiences.

Esports and gaming has quickly become a global phenomenon, with millions of people tuning in to watch their favourite teams and players compete in high-stakes tournaments, as well as engaging in their own games on an unrivalled level.

In Europe, the League of Legends EMEA Championship (LEC) has emerged as one of the most popular and lucrative esports leagues, attracting a dedicated and engaged fanbase from all over the continent, and beyond.

For brands looking to tap into this audience, there are many opportunities to engage with fans and build brand awareness through partnerships and sponsorships with esports teams and leagues.

The home of European esports

The LEC sees EMEA's best League of Legends teams do battle almost all year round.

Ten esports organisations compete in three "splits" in the LEC - Winter, Spring & Summer. That means there is three opportunities to claim the trophy, with the regular season matches happening every weekend in the Riot Games' studio in Berlin.

Each split closes with Split finals, with the top ranked teams battling it out to claim the title. Following the Summer split, the LEC then turns its attention to the Season Finals which take place at a sporting arena in Europe. The last two have been in Malmo and Montpellier, with 2024's Season Finals heading to Munich.

The three top teams from the entire season compete to be crowned the season champion, with all three qualifying for the bracket stage of the World Championships.

Embrace the culture

Esports and gaming has its own unique culture and language, and it's important for brands to understand and embrace this culture in order to connect with fans. This means not only understanding the games and players, but also the memes, references, and other nuances of the community.

One of the best ways to do this is by partnering with esports teams and influencers who have already built a strong following. By working with these individuals, brands can tap into their authenticity and credibility within the community, and position themselves as supporters and advocates of the culture. Plus, if you can get into a position where you can influence the culture, that's all the more powerful for your brand.

The LEC sees brands have their own designated sponsorships, with the likes of Mastercard and Red Bull sponsoring live-game statistics or certain gameplay actions, with the broadcast streamer for free on Twitch - opening the brands up to huge audiences. Additionally, the broadcast is available in 15 different languages, enabling brands to target a specific language or country.

Integrated advertising in LoL Esports broadcasts

Create engaging content

Esports fans are passionate and engaged, and they crave content that speaks to their interests and values. Brands that can create content that is informative, entertaining, and authentic will be able to build a loyal following and drive engagement with their target audience.

One great example of this is the LEC's Kia Mic Check series, which provides fans with an inside look at the communication and strategy of teams during matches. By creating content that gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at the world of esports, brands can connect with fans on a deeper level and build a strong emotional connection.

It's also important for the brands that partner with the teams for the esports professionals to be seen as more than just that. Creating smart content that can enable the pros to be seen as personalities can open them to an even wider audience.

Leverage technology

Esports and gaming are driven by technology, and brands that can leverage this technology to create innovative experiences for fans will be able to differentiate themselves from the competition. This could include everything from virtual reality experiences to interactive social media campaigns.

One great example of this is LoL esports' partnership with Amazon Web Services, which powers an interactive game within the game that allows fans to predict the outcome of matches and earn rewards. By using technology to create engaging experiences for fans, brands can build brand awareness and drive engagement with their target audience.

EE has partnered with EXCEL, to not only become the UK's no.1 network in gaming, but also to work with the esports org to promote a healthy and inclusive culture within the gaming community. In the partnership, online content has been released to promote players' profiles.

Esports and gaming are rapidly growing in popularity, and brands that can tap into this audience will be able to build a strong and loyal following.

By embracing the culture, creating engaging content, and leveraging technology, brands can connect with fans on a deeper level and build a strong emotional connection that will drive long-term success.

The LEC is a prime example of how esports and gaming can be used to build engaged communities, and brands that follow these strategies will be well-positioned to succeed in Europe and beyond.

KitKat has demonstrated that if you intelligently enter esports, by sponsoring the ad breaks in the LEC, then the results can be incredibly rewarding. KitKat’s LEC campaigns has led to the brand becoming one of the biggest not just in the esports space, but has also enabled KitKat to become recognisable in the wider gaming ecosystem through collaborations with PlayStation, opening the brand up to even more.

Beyond the Match
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