To reach young, male audiences through professional video-gaming, one maxim has emerged: Don't interrupt the game play.
While that could be the new golden rule for all marketing, in this specific case, Turner and WME-IMG's ELeague has found that the best way to integrate sponsors into its series is to use a version of native advertising. A deal this year with Snickers has the candy bar brand sponsoring the pre-game and post-game show. The "You're Not You When You Are Hungry" spots feature bloopers and gaffes that occur during game play.
TBS airs limited commercial breaks during ELeague, avoiding interrupting game play with ads. So while the young, male audience (one that is especially difficult to reach on TV) that is the core of e-sports' fan base typically shun brand marketing, but when done correctly, the community will cheer sponsor content. TBS airs about eight minutes of commercials an hour in ELeague.
Other marketing partners of ELeague include Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Credit Karma and Domino's.
The first season of ELeague averaged about 256,000 total viewers, with more than half of those watching in the all-important 18-to-49 demographic. The championship also received 168,500 concurrent streams on Twitch, the social platform for video gamers.
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