ALBAN DECHELOTTE – HEAD OF PARTNERSHIPS & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EMEA – RIOT GAMES
Die legendären Publisher RIOT GAMES sind verantwortlich für eines der erfolgreichsten MOBA’s unserer Zeit – „League of Legends“ – und werden in unserem Whitepaper durch Alban Dechelotte repräsentiert. Er hat nicht nur unserem Whitepaper seinen Titel gegeben, sondern fasst für Esports-Neueinsteiger auch die wichtigsten Vorteile für die Zusammenarbeit mit Entwicklern zusammen.
What is special about working together with a publisher?
At Riot Games we associate brands to League of Legends. It is very important that we can talk to both audiences – the players and the fans. As a publisher we are able to offer digital content which we leverage to drive transactions via call for actions, sweepstakes and offers that people can buy in addition to products. If a brand wants to be associated with the game as a whole – being part of an adventure, an entire culture, that is exactly what we do.
What is the difference between partnering with publishers compared to other players of the esports ecosystem?
I think all of us have different, unique selling propositions. For example ESL as an event organizer is very happy to be able to offer multiple games, whereas RIOT GAMES as publisher is usually organizing tournaments of one game. Teams are offering multi games and they are offering access to talent and storylines.
How do you interact with brands?
When we work for a blood bank, we do a first blood partnership. When we work with KitKat, we do a break partnership. When we work with Red Bull, we do a Baron Buff partnership. The way we think is like: „OK, what is the meaningful way to associate this brand with this universe? Meaningful because of the function of the product? Meaningful because of the brand essence. Meaningful because of the moments we choose.“
How do you measure the success of brand partnerships?
If we are good at selecting this – it simply fits. Then the fans will like it, then it will be super easy to activate in retail, super easy to activate in live events, super easy to create content. The meaning is what is at the center – what are the creative ideas that connect the two universes in a way that the fans are like „Fuck – I didn’t expect it, but I like it.“
Do you have an example?
DHL is a great example. I love what they did. And they did that for a community that doesn’t have a lot of partners. So the Dota community was super thankful to them. Kudos to them. That’s the level of expectation we should have for every partnership. We should try to find this moment. It’s not about how big is my logo. It’s not about how visible I am. It’s about how meaningful I am to the community.
What is the difference to partnerships in the area of classic sports?
When a sponsor signs a football club, the fans are often rejecting it. Like „Oh no! Another Logo on my Jersey.“ In eSports, when a brand does the right thing, the fans say „Thank you!“ and that’s very special. And we are very careful about selecting the partners. Not on the money they bring, not on the amount of activation they offer, but actively – are they taking the time to understand how meaningful this decision would be?
How do you manage your sponsorship portfolio? Do you think of a purpose first and then think of brands that could fit that purpose? Or do you get approached by a brand and then find an appropriate purpose?
A little bit of both. We have been lucky in the last two years and were very well spotted by brands. So now we are very targeted in terms of categories that we are approaching. We have to be very specific. We have been approaching KITKAT about this concept of breaks and they loved it. And I don’t think it would have been easy for ALIENWARE or LOGITECH to be associated with a break because by definition, they don’t want breaks. You don’t want the computer to break. They don’t want to keyboards and the networks to break. For KitKat it was meaningful.
Can esports and classic sport inspire each other?
We’re taking a lot of learnings from things that have been invented already by the world of sports. At the same time, I’m always surprised when I discover how much is the lack of curiosity for some of the easiest things that esports has been applying in terms of digitalization, digital content and even interactivity. And I am surprised sometimes when the football clubs that are so powerful don’t find ways to use some of the learnings to apply this to their organization. I was attending a panel with Julian Tan from Formula One, and he’s the one who is managing all the esports ecosystem. And it’s super smart the way they do it. It’s like applying what we’ve been doing for years to be able to offer some content for the dearest fan of formula one. The best of both worlds – that is my answer.
If a sponsor would ask you how to approach a partnership, what would be your recommendation?
I would ask him – do you think that your promess brings enough added value to the fans. That’s the only question we should ask ourselves. Because at the end of the day, the fans don’t come to watch banners. they don’t come to watch ads. They come to watch the show, they come to watch the game. We should be always asking ourselves the same question – do you think the fans want that? And if the answer is yes, I think they’re going to like it! That’s good sponsorship. And the rest is just technical. It’s like broadcast integration, live integration, social media, content – that’s technical. Today we talk about social media and influencers. Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about virtual reality – that’s just execution. I’ve been working 15 years in sponsorship. The only question you should ask yourself is – are your fans going to like it?
Hier geht’s zum Whitepaper: „FANS DON’T COME TO WATCH BANNERS!“