Olivia R. February 11, 2019
Coca-Cola has become the official non-alcoholic beverage of the Overwatch League.
The expansive Coca-Cola deal is the first OWL sponsorship to utilize the game developer’s total control over Overwatch’s intellectual property.
The three-year pact with Activision-Blizzard Esports Leagues gives Coca-Cola exclusive branding opportunities with all of the OWL teams, along with the Overwatch Contenders league, the open division, and the Overwatch World Cup. The company’s drinks will also be served at BlizzCon and at any other Overwatch events where Activision-Blizzard controls the proceedings.
The primary focus will be on Coca-Cola’s classic beverage, but the deal allows for other products to also be featured. Further details regarding how Coca-Cola plans to promote its new rights have yet to be announced.
“When we showed them the data points and what we’re doing at the league level, their perspective became, ‘If we really want to do this the right way, then let’s be a partner of the entire ecosystem,’” said Activision-Blizzard Esports CRO Brandon Snow.
This isn’t the first time Coca-Cola has been involved in the esports industry. The brand also partnered with Riot Games for League of Legends in 2016. They were integrated with EA Sports’ FIFA series in 2017 and 2018, and in FIFA 2018’s story mode, the main character becomes Coca-Cola Zero Sugar’s brand ambassador.
Coca-Cola’s understanding of the value of esports may in part be due to the influence of Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, who served as director for Coca-Cola since 2012.
“The way Coca-Cola can bring sports to life on cans and bottles are marketing dollars that people like us just really can’t put a value against,” Snow said. “It’s wonderful media.”