This week, credit card giant Mastercard announced a multi-year global partnership with League of Legends creator Riot Games. The initiative should enable Mastercard to further deepen its involvement with the industry.
Supporting the esports community
The new deal sees a huge player dive deeper into competitive gaming. In short, Mastercard is looking to further diversity its sports and entertainment portfolio.
“Esports is a phenomenon that continues to grow in popularity, with fans that can rival those at any major sporting event in their enthusiasm and energy,” said Mastercard Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Raja Rajamannar. “Our Priceless platform is built around connecting with people through their passions. We are excited about the experiences and benefits we can bring to the world’s largest esport — both in-game and to the millions of League of Legends fans that watch and attend the tournaments each year.”
The partnership will launch at this year’s League of Legends World Championship in October and November. Mastercard’s Priceless.com experience, an ad campaign via customer-experience platform, will include onsite perks. These include a behind-the-scenes tour, watching games with pro player from VIP seats, and testing pro-style gear.
The collaboration announcement also mentions two other events — the Mid-Season Invitational and the All-Star Event. Mastercard will serve as a sponsor and promoter during these competitions, giving fans various offers across onsite event activations. Mastercard will also work with its network partners to offer unique League of Legends co-branded products.
Gaining exposure to a young demographic
With this esports investment, Mastercard clearly seeks a foothold with millennials and Generation Z. It’s also a key route to scaling its global standing for big-name events and securing market share. That’s especially important at a time when Visa, a big competitor, already secured rights for massive sporting events, like the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.
“[The deal is] good news for everyone, not just Riot,” commented Catalyst Sports & Media Exec VP/Esports Avi Bhuiyan. “If you’re another payment processor, or another brand thinking about esports, seeing someone at the caliber of Mastercard not testing, or learning, but really doing a global partnership — you’re even less out on a limb than you were before.”
The League of Legends sponsorship initiative should put Mastercard in a strong spot within the esports industry.
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