This is perhaps the most far-reaching marketing strategy for an esports team’s jersey in a while.
G2, one of Europe’s biggest esports organisations, has composed an epic metal song “Our Way” to launch its new kit created in partnership with Adidas. But wait, it gets weirder. The American cellist of Chinese origin Tina Guo, who worked under the direction of Hans Zimmer on the film Dune, is on the track. Just like YouTube sensation Luke Holland. Not to mention deathcore guitarist Jason Richardson and Finnish singer Noora Louhimo. The eclectic lineup was rounded out by lead singer – G2 Esports Founder and CEO Carlos ‘Ocelote’ Rodriguez.
To say the track came out of left field is an understatement. And yet, it seems to have had the desired effect. Fan feedback in the 10 days since the track went live has been overwhelmingly positive, Rodriguez said. Likewise, demand for the shirt was stimulated. Unsurprisingly, Rodriguez declined to clarify that statement with actual numbers. However, he said he was on track to exceed expectations.
On the contrary, the reception indicates how attentive the organization is to one of the most active fanbases in esports. Not only was G2 the second most viewed team last year on Twitter, but it also had Mixwell’s eighth most talked about esports athlete among its users, according to the social network. That said, success was never clear. How could it be so with such an off-road plan? So Rodriguez and his team have spent six months and a considerable amount of money trying to improve those odds – no small feat when working with musicians who all expect a certain freedom and autonomy, Rodriguez said.
“You have to think about the universe we’re building – it’s the same way you think about what Marvel has built,” Rodriguez said of how he tried to keep his passion project on track. wider than G2. “By that I mean, you’re creating something that has personalities and stories and big events and a legacy. On top of that, we also have this hit or miss dynamic around the competition that’s built on a mixture of reality like the tournaments we participate in and fantasy with the characters we create.Most if not all entertainment IPs in existence do not have this.
Whether he’s right isn’t the question. Being a competitive esports team isn’t enough for many CEOs. Regardless of their success, teams like G2 can’t earn that much because they don’t own the games they play.
Ultimately, it is the owners of the games (the publishers) who determine how much they earn because they own the intellectual property. This explains why esports teams have such a hard time carving out new revenue streams. They need to dig deeper to leverage their brands and fills in search of those dollars. Content is one of those ways. That’s why teams like Faze Clan and 100 Thieves aren’t really esports organizations. Sure, teams are important, but only as part of a larger business driven by media revenue (creator-led live streaming on Twitch) and apparel.
“Pure sponsorship deals have never been successful. The era of affixing a logo to an asset is over. Look at Fazeclan, they are more of a media house than an esports team now,” said Magnus Leppäniemi, President of Esports at Esports Entertainment Group. “They have influencers who create content that resonates with audiences, creating affinity for the brand and the team.”
Simply put, esports is a marketing outlet for these organizations. Now, the idea of an esports organization releasing a single doesn’t seem so far-fetched – perhaps even shrewd, considering it’s being launched from the organization’s label. Neither is necessarily new. Riot Games, for example, has an in-house songwriting team, which has been composing anthems for its tournament since 2013. Rodriguez takes notes.
“The same way we have players competing or creators producing our content, we will have musicians creating music for us,” Rodriguez said. “If you fast-forward five years, the playlist we have on Spotify will probably contain between 60 and 80 of our produced songs.”
Some of these songs may even be from movies his organization has produced. Rodriguez said, “Music is definitely tied to how we think about entertaining our fans. I can see us tagging our movies in the future, as well as shows and video games.
That’s pretty much all there is planned for the label right now. Rodriguez isn’t too prescriptive about his role right off the bat. It could be a vehicle to sign acts just as much as a platform to release more tracks from the G2 brand — it’s all to consider at this point, he said. Take the prospect of more leads, for example. There is no hard and fast rule on how many people should be released, Rodriguez said. But when they do come out, chances are they’ll cover other genres beyond epic rock.
“It started out as a small project that I expected to spend a few thousand dollars on, but within three or four months it grew,” Rodriguez said. “When fans see other jersey launches from other teams, they’re going to be like, ‘I remember when G2 spent a million dollars on their own.’