- PepsiCo's Mtn Dew and Doritos brands are sponsoring a livestreamed event that builds on the publicity for next month's release of "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare," which Activision Blizzard updated with the game's first cross-platform multiplayer mode. The Mtn Dew Amp Game Celebrity Pro-Am tournament at the Thunder Esports Center in California will pit players against each other in the game's multiplayer modes, per an announcement.
- Fans who can't attend the tournament in person can view the livestreamed action on Twitch, Facebook and Twitter starting at noon PDT on Sept. 14. The tournament will pair gamers such as Shroud, H3CZ and Aydan with actress Ajiona Alexus and NBA players D'Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns. The winning team will receive $25,000 to donate toward their choice of participating charities while a secondary charity will get $10,000.
- In advance of the game's Oct. 25 release, Mtn Dew and Doritos are giving fans a chance to unlock special game content and win merchandise by using codes found on specially marked packaging.
The Mtn Dew Amp Game tournament could help the soda brand and Doritos connect with gamers as esports grows increasingly popular as a form of entertainment. By livestreaming the tournament on Twitch, Facebook and Twitter, the brands may be able to connect with a broader base of fans who can't attend the live event in person.
Mtn Dew and Doritos can leverage the massive publicity for the next release of "Call of Duty," one of the top-selling game franchises of all time. "Call of Duty" has been used in esports tournaments since 2006, although interest in esports has exploded since then.
With special packaging, the PepsiCo brands could spur purchases with "Call of Duty" fans who are eager to unlock exclusive game content and win merchandise, as it has with similar packaging efforts around "Spider-Man" and "Game of Thrones." PepsiCo has worked with Activision Blizzard to promote new videogame titles, including the Doritos Bowl tournament for "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4" at last year's TwitchCon annual convention. Mtn Dew last year introduced its "Amp Game Fuel," a brand extension aimed at gamers, with the kickoff to the 2019 Call of Duty World League (CWL) esports series in December.
Global esports revenue is forecast to jump 27% to $1.1 billion this year amid higher sales of advertising, sponsorship and media rights to competitive video gaming, according to researcher Newzoo. As esports has grown, so have the opportunities for marketers to score with this niche set of consumers. Miller Lite, Honda, Axe and AT&T are among the brands that have recently sponsored gamers, leagues, teams and events in the space.
Activision Blizzard needs to maintain momentum for the franchise with next month's release. Last year's sales of "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4" surpassed $500 million in the first three days of release, but still disappointed investors, Barron's reported.