One of ExxonMobil’s biggest brands and a global esports team have signed an extraordinary partnership to find and operate men’s and women’s teams on the North American circuits in the Rocket League, Epic’s soccer racing title.
The general said the deal between Mobil 1 and Gen.G represented a different kind of relationship between a consumer-facing brand and an esports team, which has long had sponsorship deals from rampant advertisers such as gaming peripherals, energy drinks and snack foods. Arnold Houer, CEO of G.
“It’s kind of a new paradigm for esports,” said Hoare. “We are actively helping the brand build a team. They are very engaged in working with us to build the list. It is kind of a real (joint venture) and more of a long-term project.”
Mobil 1’s racing division has long been a sponsor of traditional racetracks such as Formula 1, NASCAR and extreme events, and was already a sponsor of the men’s North American Rocket League Championship series. Hoare said the brand wanted to go deeper into esports racing, to build a stronger, more direct connection to the community.
“We have a longstanding relationship with the Rocket League, going back to the first season of the RLCS,” Ryan Allen, ExxonMobil’s director of brands and partnerships in North America, said in a statement. “We have a long history of success in motorsports, and we hope our teams in the Rocket League can add to that legacy.”
So the power giant is backing what will be called Gen.G Mobil 1 Racing.
“People are cheering for teams, not cheering for billboards, but you have to build a winning slate,” Hoare said. “For (Mobile 1), that’s going to be their team. That’s really exciting for us. They want to do it across the landscape, both from the men’s and women’s side, working with the creators. At the end of the day, we both want to be involved in a big way.”
Each team will feature three players and a coach, with their work amplified online with two social media professionals. New seasons begin in October for teams in the men’s NA RLCS and in the women’s arena, the Women’s Carball Championship. The women’s team will compete as Gen.G Mobil 1 Racing Black.
And while Mobil 1, a synthetic oil, has long had a role in high-end motorsports, this is an important extension for the brand as it tries to reach younger audiences.
“There are two factors going on,” Hoare said. “There’s a kind of sports car culture out there that is now a lot bigger thanks in large part to Netflix
Factor Two: “A lot of young people are interested in this sport as well as motorsports in general,” said Hoare. Many gamers are used to building their own computers and discovering other complex technical challenges. Surveys of Gen.G enthusiasts have found that many of them take the same DIY approach to their vehicle maintenance.
Harr said Mobil 1 is considering creating indoor esports teams for its employees using the Rocket League, where rocket-powered cars attempt to propel the ball into the opponent’s net. It is certainly a change from the traditional softball team, but will likely attract many younger employees of both genders.
The men’s team will include Jack “AboPrint Jack” Benton, Joseph “Nolly” Kidd and Nick “Kronick” Iwansky. The first and second had the best positions on the European circuit last season, and 17-year-old Iwanski will join them. The team will likely be based in Texas.
The women’s team will feature Kira O. Courtney Johnson and Isabella “Bella” Williams. The latter two finished third last season in WCBC, with Johnson named the MVP of the regular season. Team Kira O won. over Johnson and Williams in the playoffs last season, with her team finishing second.
Two content creators, Nathan”Stans“Stands and Edu, they will also be part of the team, providing social media content for each team.
Gen.G – which has “joint headquarters” in Santa Monica, California, and Seoul, South Korea – also operates competitive teams across League of Legends, Overwatch League, NBA 2K League, VALORANT and PUBG.