Honda will be the first brand partner of the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) to move into the game itself, Riot Games has announced.
Earlier in the summer, Riot Games announced the implementation of in-game banner ads.
The goal was to replicate the stadium signage commonplace in traditional sports stadiums. On launch, Mastercard and Alienware were the first two partners signed up for the new banner ads. Most regions were left to their own devices when it came to putting brands on the banners.
The LEC brought on KitKat as an in-game banner partner back in June. In the LCS, the banners have just advertised the league’s logos throughout the summer split. Once the playoffs begin, those banners will change to Honda. The popular car brand has been a sponsor of the LCS for almost one year exactly, the company first announced the deal in August 2019. The company’s biggest brand activation through LCS to date has been the Honda Scouting Grounds.
Riot Games has brought in plenty of brands to the LCS. Honda is on a list of brand partners that also includes Bud Light, Alienware, Samsung, Verizon, Red Bull, We Are Nations, State Farm, and, announced yesterday, Buffalo Wild Wings.
Riot Games has also made sure that these partnerships are more than just slapping the brand name on a broadcast, each partnership has been capitalising on what happens in the rift to create branded moments for the casting team to highlight. For Honda, that is the Honda Performance Play, a highlight that will be pulled out and examined by the casting crew.
Esports Insider says: Making branded aspects that are familiar to brands who advertise in traditional sports will pay big dividends. In the US, sports are uncertain. Over 30 MLB games have been delayed and this week two of the biggest College Football conferences both announced they aren’t playing football this fall. That opens up a ton of media buy money that is usually reserved for sports stadiums and broadcasts. Riot Games will be one of the companies that brands turn to with that money and making analogous sponsorships will help get deals done.