Riot Games, the company behind esports mega-hit League of Legends, have announced that Mercedes-Benz will be the next of many companies to ally themselves with the global gaming phenomenon.
More specifically, Mercedes will be a sponsor to the 2020 League of Legends World Championship, a major esports event that’ll see the automotive corporation as the sponsor for the trophy presentation, be featured within the game itself, and even make their own LoL-inspired advertisement. So if you ever wanted to see over-designed fantasy heroes driving through unthreatening suburbs in a luxury sedan, now might be your moment?
It’s not the first time that Mercedes has dipped its tires into the world of Esports. Mercedes is also a regional partner for the Chinese League of Legends Pro League, and they have their own official esports team, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports Team (though this is more associated with racing games). Now Mercedes are an integral part of one of the biggest esports communities in the globe, and not just for the World Championship. They’ll also reportedly be partners in the Mid-Season Invitational, as well as the All-Star Event later on. Mercedes’ vice president of marketing, Bettina Fetzer, made the following statement:
“We’ve been engaged with League of Legends on a regional level over the past few years, but we really felt that it was time to expand into the next level and engage with an even broader audience and support a community we’ve come to call family.”
It’s certainly an odd pairing on the face of it. Mercedes’ vaguely old-world automotive brand doesn’t appear to have a lot of overlap with something as contemporary as esports (especially considering it’s a young market that’s largely not got the money for cars, let alone luxury ones), but perhaps that’s the point, an attempt to cancel out a mildly fusty image by being associated with something trendy and relevant to a whole new generation. There’s a good chance that Mercedes is aiming to fill the same role in competitive gaming that Red Bull does for racing and flying, and that would be a huge deal if they were able to pull it off.
Still, it’s a long way to that lofty goal, and Mercedes will have to expand a lot further than just League of Legends if it wants to become a fixture in the industry. Still, maybe at some point we can look forward to seeing Mortal Kombat championships where each throat slit or spine removed is proudly sponsored by the new S-Class Coupé.