As the esports industry continues to gain momentum, brands across the globe are increasingly viewing competitive gaming as a great way to gain exposure among younger consumers. In many cases, brands take the simpler route of sponsoring a popular esports org like FaZe Clan or Team Liquid, but another marketing avenue that’s been gaining traction is to create and host esports events. Chipotle, Budweiser, and other major non-endemics have chosen this path already, and now food delivery service DoorDash is joining this group.
In September, DoorDash held its first-ever gaming tournament on Twitch, Battle of the Snacks, which featured leading snack brands including Twix, Oreo, and Sour Patch Kids. DoorDash worked with top content creators such as Jericho, Aydan, Atomic Twins, and MuteX to make sure the tournament had high-profile gamer appeal. Keeping to the food theme, eight teams competed in the cooking party game Overcooked 2.
DoorDash’s decision to share the spotlight with food brands was a unique choice that paid dividends. As its media agency Wavemaker explained, “DoorDash gained access to incremental viewership, a heightened clout factor, and a halo effect that solidified DoorDash’s favorability on the platform resulting in incredibly high viewership and a doubled follower base on the DoorDash Twitch page.”
Brand-led esports events involve heavy lifting, but unlike slapping a logo on a stream or player jersey, the brand has total control over exposure levels and the content presented. Moreover, offering a tournament to consumers enables the brand to leverage an organic experience – gamers are doing something they already enjoy. For DoorDash, there’s been a concerted effort to lean into esports recently; earlier this year, the company became a presenting partner for the NBA 2K League playoffs and the naming rights partner of the Australia-based League of Legends Circuit Oceania tournament.
According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, the esports push is beginning to work, as DoorDash customers now over-index on esports viewership compared to the general US population. Currently, about 17% of DoorDash users are Gen Z, but this figure could climb in the future as the service grows its esports presence.