The popular fast-food restaurant chain McDonald’s has become the major sponsor of StarCraft II World Championship Series, RealGear has learned. However, the sponsorship is valid for Australia only. The sponsorship will include on-ground activations, naming rights, branding across all touchpoints during the event, as well as content integration.
Blizzard used the Battle.net forums to announce the partnership. The community manager Arcagnion announced that McDonald’s will be the major sponsor of the Challenger Season Finals that kick off on June 24th. The event will take place at ESL Sydney studios where the most seasoned Australia and New Zealand StarCraft II players will compete against each other. The winners will scoop the amount of $10,000. They will also secure two spots for the WCS Valencia scheduled to start on July 13th.
McDonald’s is the first sponsor of Blizzard’s StarCraft II World Championship. As for the WCS tournament, the last time it took place in front of a live audience was in the distant 2012. Now, the event will be produced live as Blizzard went into partnership with You Know Media and ESL.
As for McDonald’s, the StarCraft II WCS sponsorship agreement is considered the first major attempt the fast food giant makes towards entering the e-sports market. Having said that, the company is no stranger to the gaming industry.
McDonald’s had three e-sports themed burgers available for the Swedish market. A curious fact about McDonald’s’ e-sports ventures is that back in 2013, the company organized a build-a-burger competition. The winner was an avid fan of e-sports and Ninjas in Pyjamas team as he named the burger “McNiP”.
The “McNiP” did not remain the sole e-sports related burger though. Soon after that, “McFragbite”, “McHeatoN”, and “Friberg Feast” emerged. Unfortunately, the latter has never made it to stores.
Up to now, McDonald’s has mainly been associated with its sponsorship agreements of grassroots sports. However, health experts frowned upon that sponsorship. They strongly disagreed with the fact that unhealthy snacks are linked to healthy lifestyle programs.
From a marketing point of view, the partnership with Blizzard has a huge potential. It enables McDonald’s to attract teenagers and young male adults considered two of the most difficult target groups.
The news about the StarCraft II sponsorship comes a few days after the announcement that McDonald’s is no longer a global Olympic Games sponsor. That role has been taken over by the multinational corporation and technology company Intel.