- Snickers this week became the presenting sponsor of the Madden NFL 20 Club Championship, an esports tournament hosted by video game maker Electronic Arts. As part of the sponsorship, the candy bar marketed by Mars will be featured in highlight packages and branded studio segments during the tournament on Twitch, YouTube and the ESPN mobile app, per an announcement shared with Marketing Dive.
- Snickers also is sponsoring a player's lounge where 32 competitors, each representing a real NFL team, can ready themselves for the tournament that started on Dec. 17 and runs through Dec. 20 in Redwood City, California. The winning player will win a cash prize of more than $700,000, per EA's website that has a bracket for fans to fill out with their tournament predictions. ESPN 2 will air a one-hour special about the tournament at 8 p.m. on Dec. 27.
- Snickers also sponsors a season-long campaign to highlight the top plays of the Madden NFL 20 Championship Series (MCS), which includes esports events that coincide with key parts of the NFL season and off-season. Next year, one player will win the Snickers "Moment of the Year" award based on votes from the Madden NFL community. The winner will be announced at the end of the Madden NFL 20 Bowl, which coincides with the NFL Draft on April 23-25.
In becoming the presenting sponsor of the Madden NFL 20 Club Championship, Snickers is ramping its promotional activity with the esports tournament a year after first partnering with the series of live events. The candy brand aims to reach the esports audience that largely consist of Generation Zers, 74% of whom say they often snack between meals, per a study by the Institute of Food Technologies.
Esports viewership is set to surge more than 50% by 2023 to reach 46.2 million viewers, eMarketer forecast in March. The researcher also predicted that the number of U.S. consumers who would watch an esports event at least once a month would grow 18% to 30.3 million this year from 2018. Brands looking to reach these millions of fans are forecast to boost sponsorship spending by 34% to $457 million this year, games researcher Newzoo predicted.
Snickers is among the brands that are sponsoring esports events as their audience continues to grow. Pizza Hut was the first brand to win naming rights to a virtual football stadium when Electronic Arts and the NFL introduced MCS last summer. Nike this year sponsored the Brazilian esports organization Furia, following its prior sponsorship of TJ Sports, a joint venture between Chinese video game companies Tencent and Riot Games. Anheuser-Busch also filed trademarks for official phrases that associate esports with its beer. AT&T, Axe, Coca-Cola, Hershey, Mercedes-Benz and Tillys are among the brands that are already esports sponsors.