U.S. markets close in 4 hours 29 minutes

McDonald's, Chipotle, Other Brands See Opportunity In Esports As Coronavirus Keeps Fans Indoors

Crystal Mills

Esports are thriving in the spotlight as COVID-19 forces the cancellation and postponement of in-person entertainment.

Television shows are halting production, movies are postponing releases — and traditional sports leagues are taking advantage of the esports opportunity by creating online events and leagues. Now, more non-endemic brands are either entering esports for the first time or extending deals with more organizations.

These new connections could change the face of the entertainment industry. Global businesses are understanding the value of the connection between esports organizations and fans. With organizations, players and content creators developing a direct link to potential consumers, businesses are taking advantage with long-term partnerships.

While these new partnerships aren’t necessarily groundbreaking, it’s a sign of changing times as more brands use esports as an avenue for advertising.

Chipotle, Nestle, McDonald's Strike Deals 

Most recently, brands such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE: CMG), Zaxby’s and McDonald's Corp (NYSE: MCD) have extended deals with esports figures and organizations.

Chipotle isn’t new to esports, having already partnered with brands such as TSM and OpTic Gaming. The fast casual chain also recently announced a partnership with 100 Thieves in which members of the team develop special orders. 

Teams in the Overwatch League are also making deals. Atlanta Reign received a sponsorship from McDonald's, offering fans free delivery on order of $15 or more through DoorDash and UberEats until April 6. In addition, Florida Mayhem partnered up with restaurant chain Zaxby’s.

“In these difficult times, we’re thrilled to have a versatile partner in Zaxby’s, that could adapt from live event activations for fans watching the broadcast," Ben Sproont, CEO and co-founder of Misfits Gaming Group, said in a statement. 

"Florida Mayhem fans will be able to take part in Zaxby’s competitions and deals while watching matches from the safety of their own homes."

Nestle’s KitKat brand has also initiated a sponsorship deal with AGO Rogue, the "League of Legends" academy of North American organization Rogue.

What's Next For Esports 

International awareness during these times is an important endeavor for brands, especially as more esports are now being televised.

With leagues such as the NBA and NASCAR moving into broadcasted esports events, more athletes are jumping into content creation and live streaming.

Esports, content creation and traditional sports are meshing in ways fans never expected, and this new trifecta is opening doors for global brands.

See more from Benzinga

© 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.