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Red Bull sponsorship elevates esports to ‘mainstream entertainment’, event organisers claim

Red Bull has been named as the partner brand at esports event Throwdown next month, with organisers claiming the news further demonstrates how the gaming market is becoming “mainstream entertainment”.

The drinks company will sponsor the Throwdown Esports Stage and Australia’s first large-scale Street Fighter V competition at PAX Aus in Melbourne, an event for the gaming sector.

It will be broadcast to an estimated audience of 300,000 on social video gaming platform Twitch.

Throwdown is the esports league created and managed by parent company Showdown, which distributes Twitch in Australia and New Zealand. It works with brands to give them exposure to esports communities in the local markets.

Showdown’s in-house production team will produce the live event at PAX Aus, along with the online stream.

Showdown managing director Scott Wenkart said Red Bull’s involvement is testament to the expanding popularity of esports.

“Red Bull’s support of the Throwdown Esports Stage and Street Fighter V competition is another example of esports’ growth into a mainstream form of entertainment,” he said. “The Street Fighter franchise is a favourite of the fighting game genre and is the latest in high quality esports events we’re bringing to the gaming community via Throwdown.”

He added it was connecting brands with “some of the most engaged audiences online today via Twitch”.

Esports was singled out as a key growth market by PWC partner Megan Brownlow as she delivered a state-of-the-industry address at Mumbrella 360 in June.

“The next big thing in sports, it drives advertising and subscriptions, is esports,” Brownlow said, noting how the esports industry’s League of Legends championships final had been watched by 43m fans.

Wenkart, writing in Mumbrella, also – unsurprisingly – claimed the industry offered huge potential for marketers.

PAX Australia will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from October 27 to 29.

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