Following a massive investment by Mercedes-Benz in China, another German carmaker has decided to shift its funding of esports initiatives into a higher gear. Audi is landing support for the competitive video gaming operations of two Dutch soccer esports teams. Only, they will be competing in FIFA, the game.
Cars, Soccer and Esports
German automaker Audi has decided to back Fokus Clan and Bundesliga club FC Ingolstatdt 04 espots arm. The investment has little to do with actual soccer as you know it. Instead, Audi will be backing the esports initiatives of the teams which are now fielding digital athletes in FIFA 19, as part of a growing competitive movement around the world.
The partnership is a three-year deal, which will see Fokus Clan’s esports arm enjoy the ultimate training facility – an Audi Q7 e-tron car equipped with PlayStation 4 consoles. Players will focus on promoting the brands and boosting awareness.
Understandably, Audi’s logo will now be integrated in Fokus Clan’s esports social media and on the players’ jerseys. Audi is in fact the second non-endemic partner to invest copiously into the team, with Funny-Frisch, a food company, doting on the digital soccer team in the past.
Audi’s move is not random, of course, and it successfully recaptures the shift of interest towards esports. Youth are increasingly engaged in video games, and while sporting events and fast cars still hold a certain appeal, they may be becoming a bit of a niche compared with the immediate joys of gaming. Audi AG head of sports marketing Thomas Glas seems cognizant of this simple fact.
Esport opens up new and exciting marketing opportunities for us. esport is dynamic and far more flexible than many traditional sports. This enables us to shape many things and actively participate in their further development. – Audi Head of Sports Marketing, Thomas Glas
Audi is not investing in just esports that remind the audience of mainstream competitions. To be successful, Mr. Glas has realized that the company needs to appeal to the specific tastes of the people it’s trying to reach out to.
Recently, Audi signed a $750,000-deal with the world’s most popular esports team, Astralis, who have topped the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) competitive scene in such a swift blurry, that even Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has been known to Tweet his support before a major competition.
While Fokus Clan has clearly the better-developed esports arm, Audi is not ready to snub an excellent opportunity from FC Ingolstadt where the company is also investing and involved. The team will work in collaboration with established esports professionals who will help the soccer club develop its esports segment.
The young and, above all, digital, and technology-savvy target group with an enormous reach and strong global networking is interesting. This makes a commitment to esports particularly attractive for Audi and ideally complements our digital communication strategy. – Glas
Beyond the deal with Astralis, Audi has been quite determined to appeal to a specific crowd of people and hopefully be able to market its products to a young and tech-savvy audience in future.