Airbus, a leading European aircraft manufacturer, has made major inroads into the esports world with the apparent sponsorship of a new League of Legends team, Out of the Blue.
The details of the sponsorship are currently unknown, with disjointed announcements maintaining an element of mystery in proceedings.
The story began on Friday with a tweet which read “Proud to announce that #Airbus enters #Esport world by sponsoring “Out Of The Blue” the new professional team of @LeagueOfLegends”, alongside what is presumably the logo of a new European organisation.
Confusingly, the tweet was posted by the ‘AirbusCareers’ account – which normally advises followers on job role availability within the company. Whether the message was accidentally shared early or via the wrong account remains uncertain, but there had been no further official announcement from the company – until a video surfaced yesterday titled ‘Airbus Enters the Game’.
The video, posted by French film production company Master Films, opens with the words ‘Airbus is ready to catch the future’, and depicts a flight with an interior aglow with the light of League of Legends matches emanating from the back of plane seats. The video’s caption reads “Master Films plays the game for AIRBUS entering League of Legends (LCS EU) sponsoring”.
If the caption is accurate, and Airbus have entered the EU LCS with a new team called Out of the Blue, it would mean that they have purchased an existing team’s spot – or, as some have suggested, it could be a hint that the European LCS will be expanding, although if that is the case Riot Games will definitely be expected to announce it sooner rather than later.
There is also the possibility that Airbus could be entering the EU Championship Series, the tier of competition just below the LCS. There, they could be joining other famous brands such as FC Shalke 04 and Red Bull in owning a team gunning for a spot in Europe’s premiere competition.
Either way, this is not Airbus’s first foray into esports – they made their first steps into the industry with a partnership with ESWC which was announced in June of this year. Investing into a team, however, would be another level of commitment for the company into the esports world.
Esports Insider says: Airbus is of the largest players to ever enter the esports market, with a reported €64 billion (£56.6b) revenue in 2016. Whilst this move is certainly promising for an EU LCS not without its struggles, the lack of any clear official announcement should signal caution for onlookers anticipating a heavy investment here.