Team Dignitas’ latest non-endemic sponsor has a significant amount of experience in the esports space. Buffalo Wild Wings, a restaurant and sports bar chain, will brand its bison logo on the sleeves of Dignitas player jerseys, and appear on the organisation’s monthly Twitch and Facebook streams.
This is the first team sponsorship deal for Buffalo Wild Wings. Bob Ruhland, the company’s Vice President of Marketing, told The Esports Observer that consultancy studio EverGame Media originally helped identify the opportunity, while its own sponsorship activation agency, Momentum Worldwide, helped finalize and implement the partnership.
“We originally started discussing a possible partnership late last year. Once we learned more about each organization’s priorities, we saw that collectively we could create some great programs that would engage and enhance the experience for esports fans.”
As the “official hangout for Team Dignitas”, Buffalo Wild Wings will not only create exclusive content around the organisation, but also invite the team’s players for live appearances at restaurant locations.
Bob Ruhland told TEO that Buffalo Wild Wings’ sponsorship of Turner’s Eleague saw an increase in esports fans attending its restaurants, encouraging the company to get further involved in the space. The appearance of pro esports players will hopefully wash away viral reports from last year, in which patrons said they were unable to watch Eleague broadcasts at Buffalo Wild Wings sports bars.
Buffalo Wild Wings will also host a one-against-one, amateur League of Legends tournament at TwitchCon this weekend. The finalists will compete against professional Team Dignitas players Terry “Big” Chuong and Adrian “Adrian” Ma, and the winner will receive a $300 Buffalo Wild Wings gift card and Dignitas-branded merchandise. Another online amateur tournament hosted by both companies is also planned.
This sponsorship news freshly follows an ESPN report that Team Dignitas have been denied a position in next year’s franchised NA LCS competition. The org avoided relegation in the LCS in 2016 when it was acquired by NBA team the Philadelphia 76’ers, who merged it with the recently qualified Apex Gaming.
Dignitas now sits beside the 76’ers and New Jersey Devils in the recently formed Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment holding group. Chad Biggs, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development & Activation at Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, told The Esports Observer:
“Buffalo Wild Wings is a brand founded with the goal of bringing fans together to enjoy sports as a community. Esports fans and Buffalo Wild Wings share a love of competition – we felt, therefore, it was important to create activation points that incorporated a competitive element – both in-person at TwitchCon, and also in an upcoming online amateur tournament.”
As well as being the first esports team acquired by a sports ownership group, Dignitas is one of the few esports brands to sign a streaming deal with Facebook, and was one of Mountain Dew’s first sponsored teams in esports, alongside SK Gaming and Splyce.