The Honda Civic has been the top vehicle sold to U.S. millennials since 2011, according to research Strategic Vision. Keen to stay front-of-mind among young first-time car-buyers, Honda embarked on an esports and video games sponsorship strategy in 2014 and has been doubling down on that investment ever since.
This summer, Honda featured heavily in the Riot Games’ League of Legends Championship Series Summer Split tournament, which concluded in September, as its exclusive automotive partner. Last year, Honda became the exclusive automotive sponsor for pro esports team Team Liquid, which came third overall in the Championship. The team’s other sponsors include SAP, Alienware and Monster.
Beginning August 13, Honda was the first advertiser to sponsor the digital in-arena banners during the LCS broadcast, which airs on Twitch, YouTube and Trovo, a newer livestreaming platform. Since last year, Honda has also sponsored the League’s “MVP” (most valuable player) award and the LCS Scouting Grounds amateur competition.
While not as established as traditional sports in the minds of many marketers, esports does deliver reach. The LCS alone was the third most popular major professional sports league in the U.S. among 18- to 34-year-olds — behind only the NBA and NFL — based on Nielsen average minute audience data for 2019. Going into the summer finals weekend, the LCS Summer Split reached an average minute audience of 182,000 — up 25% from last year, according to esports business intelligence firm StreamHatchet. The TSM v C9 playoff match hit a peak of 520,000 viewers,