Riot Games has secured Coca-Cola as its founding partner for the first official season of Wild Rift esports. The soda brand will become a global sponsor, engaging in activations across the mobile game’s eight esports regions. The announcement follows Sports Business Journal’s previous report of Coca-Cola sponsoring China’s Wild Rift League, which is now understood to be part of this global deal.
The multiyear deal (terms were not disclosed) is Coca-Cola’s first foray into mobile esports and will see the brand integrated into regional competition broadcasts and featured during Wild Rift’s first official international competition, this summer’s Icons Global Championship. In addition to esports activations, Coca-Cola has integrated Wild Rift into its “It Must Be Real” digital campaign and will launch a co-developed content series highlighting the game and its community.
Through this deal, Coca-Cola revives a partnership with Riot Games that has been dormant since 2016. The brand sponsored global events including the League of Legends World Championship from 2014-2016. Valeria Herzer, Coca-Cola Co.’s senior director for gaming, told SBJ that the companies have remained in contact since then. The company identified Wild Rift as an opportunity to create a global partnership with Riot across both the game and its esports efforts.
“Coke is a very global brand. They’re present in every corner of the globe, and that is very much in line with how we are approaching Wild Rift,” said Leo Faria, Riot Games global head of esports, Wild Rift. He said that the partnership has been months in the making but had a global focus from its inception, adding that Coca-Cola’s positioning as a “young and vibrant” brand aligns with the brand strategy employed for Wild Rift esports.
Faria and his team will work with each of the regional esports teams operating Wild Rift’s first official competition season to design localized activations. Coca-Cola will also have category exclusivity across all official competition regions. Faria explained that while each region’s team can develop its own partnership portfolio, global partners will receive category exclusivity. The list of regional partners is as follows, according to Riot:
WNS (North America)
- Prime Gaming
WOL (Open Latinoamerica)
WCS (Southeast Asia)
- Maggi Cup Noodle
While regions like China and Southeast Asia have well-developed mobile esports scenes, other regions have been slower to develop. Faria hopes that Coca-Cola’s commitment to Wild Rift will help to validate mobile esports in more hesitant regions such as the U.S.
“Having a brand like Coca-Cola definitely helps with endorsement, so I am expecting that more esports organizations will see that as a positive sign as the future of mobile esports and would not only help the ones that are already in to continue to invest and secure their own partners, but also to encourage other organizations who are not in right now but might decide to take part.”
The full suite of activations and integrations for Coca-Cola and Wild Rift is still in development, but Faria noted that the brand’s partner value extends beyond traditional deliverables, noting its connections to prominent venues and experience with sports and entertainment events.