Even if you have no interest in gaming, you have probably heard a considerable amount about esports over the last few years. Whether it’s Epic Games providing $100,000,000 in Fortnite tournament prize funds, the United States Air Force sponsoring Cloud9 or OpenAI’s DOTA 2 bot beating some of the best professional players in the world. Esports is being increasingly covered by mainstream media due to its explosive growth over the last few years, and this appears to be only the tip of the iceberg for what’s to come.
Naturally, eager technology companies around the world are now trying to tap into this growing industry in an attempt to align their products and services with this highly passionate fan-base. ASUS Republic of Gamers have been doing this for a few years now with a global product sponsorship of the world famous Ninjas in Pyjamas CS:GO team and by releasing a range of esports-focused Strix products, such as the newly released SCAR II and Hero II gaming notebooks.
On a more local level, I have been placing a large focus on UK university students for the last couple of years. It is well known that brand preferences developed during the educational period of a person’s life will often persist into the future. So how were we going to combine our esports marketing focus with our target student demographic?
I first heard of The NUEL towards the end of 2017 and quickly realised that they had almost unparalleled access to this key student audience. NUEL support PC gaming societies for 125 universities around the UK and have over 6,000 active UK students registered for their regular League of Legends, Counter Strike and Overwatch tournaments. After meeting with them, it was clear that we both shared the same goals of investing in the UK esports scene and helping to provide students with the tools that they need to get into the competitive gaming industry.
Since then, ROG and NUEL have been working closely to provide universities around the country with a full setup of ROG Strix gaming notebooks and peripherals that enable them to run their own local tournaments. We have also been sending our new ROG Bus to larger events to provide them with a truly unique competitive stage.
I was able to meet a lot of these students at the RedBull Gaming Sphere in London for NUEL’s Spring Championship finals and I was absolutely blown away by the amount of positive feedback that we received. Many societies explained how they were previously unable to run their own tournaments, but now with the help of our ROG devices, they can run LAN events on a regular basis which is helping to get more people involved.
Working closely with such a passionate group of gamers has been a real pleasure and I can’t wait to support them even more in 2019 and beyond.
If you are a marketing professional that is wanting to make long-term branding investments with the next generation of passionate gamers, then make sure that you don’t forget about your local gaming societies and communities. You may not receive the same kind of reach when you compare it to sponsoring a regional or global esports tournament, but the quality of your engagement will be far greater.
Thomas Jenner is a senior gaming marketing specialist at ASUS UK.