Complexity Gaming, the sister esports team of the Dallas Cowboys, is partnering with Denny’s to help support diversity and inclusion in gaming through a series of Twitch streams, according to information shared with Marketing Dive.
The four sponsored streams will feature an all-female lineup, including Beccatilts, Emily Wang, Vicky Palami and Ninjayla. During the streams, “pancake drops” will reward viewers with prizes such as free delivery, merchandise, discounts and more. Streams will air on Twitch through August and September.
The campaign, which was facilitated by Spark Foundry, marks Denny’s growing effort to reach younger consumers through social media and other digital channels.
Denny’s newest partnership with Complexity Gaming is intended to increase brand affinity among Gen Zers while also positioning the chain as socially conscious, an important sticking point for young consumers. Additionally, it gives the esports team another corporate sponsor as the once niche pastime goes mainstream.
Esports saw major growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, with market revenue climbing from $947 million in 2020 to $1.08 billion in 2021. Market revenue is projected to hit $1.6 billion by 2024. Early partnerships in this rapidly growing space stand to benefit both esport teams and brands.
Complexity Gaming, a GameSquare Esports company, has moved toward developing more mainstream partnerships as esports grows in popularity. A similar deal was struck with Miller Lite also intended on raising minority voices in the esports space.
Putting a focus on female partnerships not only give brands a socially conscious front, but aligns them with rapidly developing female talent, whose influence stands to grow in the industry. Despite theoretically being a sport independent of factors like gender and strength, esports is overwhelmingly male. The space, and gaming as a whole, has long struggled with misogyny. The top 366 highest paid esport athletes, based on competition money, are men. Despite the massive pay gap between the top male and top female esport athletes and the Gamergate controversy, women have shown an increasing interest in esports. By late 2020, 36% esport viewers were women, up from 23% at the start of that year.
The Twitch partnership will mark the debut of Beccatilts and Emily Wang, two of Complexity’s newest content creators. Both creators primary stream Teamfight Tactics and have built inclusive communities around the strategy game. The partnership allies the Denny’s brand with up-and-comings while also helping to promote Complexity’s content. This isn’t the first move toward younger consumers made by Denny’s — other efforts include a TikTok campaign to promote the brand’s “Open for Anything” platform and limited-time free mobile delivery to promote “The Matrix” franchise.