Esports sponsorship is becoming a fertile ground for brands looking at more organic ways to pursue the Asian youth. Oppo has become the latest brand to test this: signing as the first global smartphone partner of Riot Games' esports competition League of Legends until 2024.
The partnership is the Chinese consumer electronics maker's first entry into esports, and builds on its sports and entertainment sponsorship portfolio, which includes Wimbledon, FC Barcelona, and the International Cricket Council, among others.
Oppo Singapore marketing director Dylan Yu told Campaign the partnership with League of Legends and Riot Games is a part of the brand’s wider business strategy to directly engage young people and increase market share globally.
“As a consumer-focused brand, Oppo is always on the hunt for new channels to communicate directly with young people, our target audience,” Yu said. “There is a huge opportunity for us to strengthen our engagement amongst young people through esports channels, particularly in Asia where there are many active esports communities.”
The league has “become a lifestyle” for many young people in Singapore and across the region in recent years, Yu went on to explain. League of Legends is one of the largest esports leagues, with three tournaments taking place across the year: The Mid-Season Invitational, the All-Star Event, and the World Championship, which attracted 99.6 million unique viewers last season.
This makes it a “natural fit” for the brand, Yu explained, which developed its Reno line of smartphones with the gaming audience in mind, increasing the sensitivity of the screen and enhancing the processing speed to create a “more seamless experience” for gamers.
The marketing director said Oppo is constantly looking at innovative ways to engage its target audience beyond traditional marketing campaigns.
“Consumers are constantly evolving the way they consume content and interact with brands. Our innovation is what keeps us ahead, whether it’s in our product development or in our marketing campaigns where we partner with unique brands and communities to engage our target audience in new ways,” he added.
Other brands sponsoring League of Legends esports include Mastercard, State Farm, Alienware, Secretlab, and Louis Vuitton.