US underwear brand MeUndies has acquired American video game League of Legends' e-sports team The Immortals as sponsored ambassadors.
The deal was made after MeUndies reacted to one team member's claim that he didn't own any underwear by sending him a free sample pack. Now, The Immortals will be wearing MeUndies loungewear and briefs to competitions and at their team home in California, in exchange for a performance-based fee. The underwear brand promoted its sponsorship with a parody of 80s dating videos starring the e-sports team.
Spectator gaming is on the rise. In 2015, 460,000 years worth of video content was watched on live streaming gaming platform Twitch (Twitch, 2016). Meanwhile, the global e-sports market is expected to generate $463m in revenue in 2016, catering to an audience that is 72% comprised of men and women aged 21+ (Newzoo, 2016).
To connect with this audience, US broadcasters The CW, TBS and ESPN have all started live TV coverage of e-sports events on top of their digital media verticals, and FMCG brands such as Mountain Dew, Red Bull and Coca-Cola have taken up sponsorship of different games' leagues. However, despite considerable audience figures and promising growth factors, advertising in the sector is still underutilised. Influencer endorsements like MeUndies' sponsorship are an organic option for brands wanting to enter the market.
For more on the e-sports and spectator gaming opportunity, see Live-Streaming Strategies and Gaming Trends. To read about how 'nowstalgia' is resurfacing 80s and 90s aesthetics, see our Pop Culture Round-Up: June 2016.