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Esports boom during the coronavirus: KitKat & the LEC


Thassilo von Bierbrauer

As is known, the omnipresent COVID19 situation is leading to the following for many people worldwide: lots of time. And above all, lots of time at home. Time, which would be used for all types of cultural, social and sport-motivated activities under normal circumstances, such as for live sports events in a stadium or on TV, concerts and much more.

If live entertainment and sports usually determine day-to-day life in various forms, the question will now presumably automatically arise of: How do I access my entertainment when I am staying at home, practising social distancing and no live events are taking place outside anyway? The answer: eSports.

Additional growth in the COVID19 situation

ESports constitute a recreational activity and an increasingly professionalised type of sport, which has already been very well received in the past years, but is experiencing another noticeable push in the time of the coronavirus. This digital and global entertainment product is increasing its live spectator numbers week-after-week for tournaments at a national and international level and is delighting the young target group. At the same time, gaming is constantly growing along with it, as an overriding form of entertainment. For example, Steam, the online sales platform for PC games, recorded more than 20 million simultaneous users for the first time in mid-March.

Why is that the case? People stay at home, maintain contacts virtually and pass their time online. Due to the already-existing technological infrastructure, eSports can be carried out in a simple way, without live spectators on site and yet, it can be streamed and distributed directly into millions of living rooms worldwide.

Case Study: Kitkat’s entry into the LEC

How a brand can proactively take advantage of this attractive communication platform in these times and obtain fantastic added values for the identified target group at the same time, is shown by the partnership between the international chocolate brand, KitKat, and the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) of Riot Games as part of the LEC 2020 Spring Split. The further transmission of the LEC 2020 Spring Split, which started in spring, has been performed as a remote live broadcast on the Twitch and YouTube online platforms since 21 March, due to the current developments relating to the coronavirus.

In addition to the arrangement of rights, the global agency network of Lagardère Sports and Lagardère PLUS also supplied a comprehensive package of services, including the innovative start-up campaign: a customised storytelling concept under the credo ‘Because Every Champ Needs a Break‘ with which the partnership between KitKat and Riot Games, the founder of the European Championship (LEC) was activated.

The storytelling of Because Every Champ Needs a Break revolves around the DNA of KitKat and the way in which it communicates the entire eSports cosmos: humorous, empathetic, unpretentious. As part of this concept, Lagardère PLUS has developed and produced a series of video contents, which show typical game situations and show how they relate to what KitKat stands for; relaxed, delicious breaks. This narrative has been placed in the breaks of the LEC broadcast of the Spring Split 2020 on a regular basis.

The integral approach of Lagardère Sports and PLUS, including arrangement, advisory and individual concept development, therefore opened up an ideal entry for KitKat to the world of eSports and consequently, the gateway to a young, brand-open and passionate target group.

In a time, during which many negative headlines and topics dominate the media world, due to the COVID 19 situation, this partnership creates a humorous and relaxed “escape” from this partly depressing news situation, which moves the KitKat brand, as well as the LEC into a professional, entertaining and emotionally positive context.

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