Electronic sports are capable of bringing together millions of fans in front of a computer. An audience with unique characteristics with which the big brands want to connect. Santander Bank has been one of the last corporations to enter strongly into the esports with the sponsorship of the European Championship and the Latin American League of one of the most popular video games in the world: League of Legends (LOL). The 2021 World Cup — which held its eleventh edition in October — had nearly 74 million live simultaneous viewers and an average audience per minute of more than 30 million, according to the organizer, the American company Riot Games.
League of Legends is a strategy game in which teams face each other to destroy the rival’s base. Players fight against opponents of the same level and, as they win, climb the ranks until they reach the highest category, called Challenger. Since the creation of professional competitions, the LoL community has grown each year and currently has over 100 monthly active users. Elite players have become stars of the same stature as many great traditional athletes.
Banco Santander announced the agreement at an event held in Madrid in which some of the streamersartists and gamers League of Legends more famous. Under the motto Level up your dreams —level up your dreams—, the entity wants to build a new community and reach the younger generations. “We are very excited to announce this new collaboration with a partner with whom we share attributes of innovation, diversity and digitization. We believe that entering the world of esports It will give us the opportunity to connect with the new generations of digital natives and help them progress”, said Juan Manuel Cendoya, General Director of Communications, Corporate Marketing and Studies of the financial group.
Santander will be the main sponsor of these competitions for three years, with the possibility of extending the agreement. This alliance also extends to the Brazilian Leag Championshipeu of legends. Although it is the first time that the bank enters with its global brand in the esportsthe financial group already has experience in electronic sports through Openbank, which sponsors the Spanish national competition —Superliga—.
To promote the brand, the bank has explained that it will deploy a variety of resources. These include the use of the logo in different locations, exclusive content segments, commercial spaces during broadcast breaks, banners, prizes or VIP tickets to the finals.
The new sponsorship will be complemented by its two big commitments: Formula 1, where it is official sponsor of Scuderia Ferrari; and the football. “At Santander we have a sports sponsorship strategy, which combines global sponsorships for the entire group with local sponsorships in the 10 main markets. Global sponsorships give us notoriety and great international brand visibility, as well as solidity and strength throughout the world; and the premises allow us to connect with customers physically and emotionally in each country. The combination of both types of sponsorship is perfect for the bank’s objectives”, they explain from the entity. Sports, culture and entertainment are the main focus, with examples such as LaLiga football in Spain, Santander Cycles in the United Kingdom or sponsorships of gastronomy and fashion events in Brazil.
For the bank, “sponsorships are a powerful tool that allows us to support the business, consolidate the brand locally and internationally, increase emotional bonding with all our audiences and communicate the bank’s mission, which is to help people and companies to progress”.
LThe championships, in figures
The European Championship of League of Legends (LEC), which began in January 2019, has become the most watched sports league in Europe. Ten teams compete weekly in two 12-week seasons. The LEC ends each season with a live finale on stages across Europe, including Rotterdam and Athens. The LEC’s average viewership per minute, with fans watching at the same time, is consistently above 470,000 in seven languages.
In the case of the Latin American League (LLA), eight teams face each other in two seasons each year: spring and summer. The spring winner is eligible for the Mid-Season Play-Ins stage and the summer champion is eligible for the Worlds Play-Ins stage. Since 2020, the competition takes place in Mexico City with the finals played in different cities in the region, such as Santiago and Buenos Aires.