From Bathhurst to Fortnite: Aussie telco mixes Supercars with esports

A leading sponsor of a Supercars team in Australia has invested a chunk of its marketing budget into three major esports sponsorships.

Youth telco Boost Mobile has signed as the Official Telco Partner of the Melbourne Esports Open, Naming Rights Sponsor of the Supercars E-Series, and Telco Partner of The Chiefs, an Australian esports team.

The inaugural Melbourne Esports Open, held in September and presented by TEG Live and Fairfax Events and Entertainment, will feature competitions in Fortnite, Overwatch, League of Legends, and will take place at the Rod Laver Arena.

The pre-paid, no-contract network provider, which co-titles Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing team, Supercars, will also hold Naming Rights to the esports version of the Australian touring car series, details of which are yet to be announced.

The third esports property, the Sydney-based Chiefs, is a leading League of Legends team and has represented Australia four times at the Intel Extreme Masters competition in the US.

A recent study by market research firm YouGov revealed that almost four million Australians watch esports, including 23 per cent of all people aged between 18 and 24 years old.

Games such as Fortnite have seen a surge in popularity, with the title jumping from 45 million to 125 million players worldwide between January and June 2018, the report said.

Boost Mobile is also a sponsor of the World Surf League, and has in the past year been involved in skate boarding’s Bondi Bowl-a-Rama and the Monster Energy Aus X Open.

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The partnership is understood to be a three-season deal, from 2019-20 to 2021-22, and builds on AXA’s existing Global Partner agreement with Liverpool.

The deal is the largest ever sponsorship investment in UK women’s sport and comes less than a year after the league went fully professional in September 2018.

Under the five-year global deal, Oppo will become the first Official Smartphone Partner of The Championships, Wimbledon, as the event is officially known.

US sportswear brand Nike is paying about $7.5m (€6.7m) per year to sponsor China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL), according to industry sources.