On the floor of TwitchCon, teams of two Red Bull employees scatter around the crowd hawking as many free Red Bulls as they can carry. That’s been a common scene at esports and gaming events for years. Red Bull was one of the first companies to identify the opportunity in the esports space and put the full weight of the company charging headlong into the growing market.
Red Bull produces some of the best-written content in esports, holds events in partnership with Ninja such as the Red Bull NYE event in Times Square, and is around nearly every corner in an esports arena. So when the company announced a new global partnership with Riot Games, it didn’t come as much of a shock as the Mastercard global partnership from last year.
Red Bull has effectively become synonymous with esports. The company also holds sponsorships with major western League of Legends teams from G2 and Cloud9. As part of this new deal with League of Legends, Red Bull will be a part of all international competitions including MSI, All-Stars and Worlds. That includes this upcoming Worlds with play-in stages already underway.
“Red Bull has been a long-time support[er] of sports, esports, and gaming,” says Naz Aletaha, Head of Global Partnerships for Riot Games. “Their deep understanding and appreciation of gaming culture and their desire to continually raise the bar for fans makes them an ideal partner.”
For Riot Games, Red Bull was likely an easy sponsor to procure. They didn’t need to do much educating about the esports opportunity and the League of Legends product effectively sells itself. Red Bull joins a long list of other unique partners Riot has brought on over the past few years. Mastercard, State Farm and, most recently, Louis Vuitton all play a part in one of the most robust sponsorship groups of any esport.