Why Coca-Cola are sponsoring the League of Legends Challenger Series and not the Super Bowl

League of Legends

The Super Bowl is an advertiser’s dream endgame – as many American eyes in one place as one event can withstand. But this year, Coca-Cola have partnered with Riot for their League of Legends Challenger Series. Because Coke’s demographic is primarily men between the ages of 17-30, they reckon League of Legends’ audience has “eclipsed [by] several fold” the numbers they’d reach via the world’s most-watched American football game.

“The Super Bowl is a massively viewed event with 111+ million viewers every time it happens,” explained Coca-Cola’s head of gaming, Matt Wolf. “But when you start to layer on a gender and certain age split that we’re very interested in, it comes pretty far down.

“An audience [like] that Riot has created has actually eclipsed it several fold,” he went on. “Viewership is growing in such an amazing way, and unless you’re in the games sphere it just doesn’t resonate.”

Intriguingly, Coke have partnered with Riot Games for the LoL Challenger Series, rather than the main event – the LCS. Wolf said that the company decided that there was “an amazing opportunity and a really great sync with one of our brands, Coke Zero, about giving amateur players a road to the pros”.

“Most of us when we were young, had aspirations of being pro at something and some level,” he told Munich’s Digitial-Life-Design conference, as quoted by onGamers. “We wanted to work with Riot and give that opportunity to the playerbase. We wanted to be really authentic about it, integrate properly, and begin to tell those stories.”

And why Riot, instead of MLG, ESL or one of the other myriad independent eSports organisations out there?

“We wanted to get close to the core of the experience,” said Wolf. “All these other groups are very, very good and talented at what they do, and all of them friends of mine. But I think that in order to really win the hearts and minds of the game players, you have to win the hearts and minds of the game makers.”

It’s always fun to celebrate the milestones as League of Legends permeates the mainstream, advertiser by advertiser. But do any of you lot begin to get queasy about the companies now interested in drawing the eyes of MOBA fans?