Olivia R. March 7, 2020
The United States Navy is hoping to enage with the gaming community through a new esports campaign launched by the Navy Recruiting Command.
One part of the campaign involves the Navy partnering with North American esports organizations. Teams like Evil Geniuses will help the Navy put together a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team by holding tryouts for sailors.
Later in the year, the Navy will reveal its new CSGO team at TwitchCon alongside Evil Geniuses.
The Navy esports tryouts are similar to esports-related initiatives the US Army currently has as well. The US Army competes in Call of Duty and Overwatch. They also partnered with Complexity earlier in the year, inviting the players to attend a bootcamp at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. The esports pros participated in military-style exercises and drills and then later invited US Army personnel to their GameStop Performance Center in Frisco, Texas.
The US Navy's campaign also includes a partnership with Twitch. The streaming platform will develop a six-episode mini series that compares the striking similarities between sailors and competitive gamers. This includes strategic thinking, perception, communication, and decision-making.
A partnership with ESL allowed the Navy to sponsor DreamHack Anaheim's Bring Your Own Computer space. They will also be sponsoring the BYOC space at DreamHack Dallas on May 22.
The extensive campaign also features a partnership with DBLTAP. This will have the Navy developing video content called "Role Comparison." DBLTAP editors will showcase top players from top esports teams, showing the different rates in the Navy with specific roles on these popular esports teams.
Navy esports tryouts just the beginning
These big partnerships are just part of the Navy's new recruiting strategy. In December 2019, the Navy announced that more than 97% of its future advertising budget would be moving away from cable television. Instead, it would be focused on Twitch and YouTube, with those efforts including a renewed goal of attracting an esports audience.
But why focus gamers?
The Navy is hoping to reach people between the ages of 17 and 28 and millenials make up the majority of esports viewers, with teens not far behind. It only makes sense. In fact, the vice chief of naval operations Adm. Robert Burke admitted that their "target audience" was "not watching" TV ads in the middle of the Super Bowl. In 2018, the Navy still met their recruiting goals despite the reduction in television advertising, proving it had little or no effect.
The United States army has made previos efforts to appeal specifically to the gaming audience. This included the development and release of competitive first-person shooter America's Army, first released in 2002.
But not only are esports viewers the right demographic, gamers also have a set of skils that the military desires. Astralis convinced the Danish armed forces to recruit more professional gamers, thanks to their faster reaction times and good teamwork skills.
The Danish army specifically targeted gamers for the first time in 2017, being more visible on platforms frequented by them. As a result, they received twice as many such applicants. Not only that, but they were able to easily find qualified applicants for their flight leader program, which is their most difficult program.