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Car companies set sights on esports

Esports has surged in popularity in recent years, buoyed most recently by COVID-19 keeping many people at home.

Car companies are leveraging the uptick to get in front of car fans, promote their race cars and give gamers the opportunity to ‘try before they buy’.

While mobility is at a minimum right now, automakers see the marketing potential in esports and have inked sponsorship deals across the globe.


Mazda and PlayStation: Mazda designed a virtual race car for the Sony PlayStation 4 video game "Gran Turismo Sport" to give players a glimpse of what it's like to drive a vehicle by the car brand

Mercedes and League of Legends (Global Sponsorship): Mercedes have become the exclusive automotive partner of all global League of Legends eSports events of Riot Games. It is creating globally viewed ads with game characters and themes integrated. Mercedes have also partnered with League of Legends team RNG, incorporating jersey branding, and the creation of social and general media content, in addition to branding a new esports facility.

KIA, Fnatic and League of Legends European Championship (LEC): Kia have entered into a sponsorship with both the LEC as Official Automotive Partner, in addition to partings with League of Legends team Fnatic for the creation of a unique new content series.

Toyota and Subaru: Toyota Gazoo Racing (Toyota’s motorsports division) and Subaru Corp. jointly organised the esports car racing event e-Nurburgring Race with on YouTube in May. They did so after the 24 Hours Nurburgring race scheduled to be held this month in Germany was postponed

Team Liquid & Honda: Honda are a presenting sponsor across all Team Liquid, a leading worldwide professional esports organisation, teams and games, including League of Legends, DOTA2 & Fortnite. Honda appears on jerseys, is also creating a new dedicated content series, and providing a fleet of branded Civics.

Audi & Origen: Audi have now partnered with League of Legends Team Origen in the LEC.

Molly Bruce

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