DHL and ESL cooperate to embrace the future of digital sports

Key Takeaways

  • esports target digital natives, establishing themselves as one of the fastest growing sports worldwide
  • DHL is the Official Shipping and Logistics Partner for the ESL One series handling event logistics for tournaments in Germany, the UK, Brazil and the USA

DHL announces its official partnership with the world’s largest eSports company, ESL, and is expanding its brand presence in the esports market, which is growing exponentially with millions of fans and active players.

ESL stages and markets esports leagues and events, including tournaments in the popular esports disciplines Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), StarCraft II and League of Legends. In addition, ESL produces live streams of its esports tournaments and distributes them via all the major digital channels, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Twitch.

DHL provides core logistics services to ESL and, as a sponsor with creative live stream content, its brand will be featured on various social media channels and via further communications measures throughout the ESL One series tournaments. With this new collaboration, DHL is adding a sport that is not only growing rapidly around the world but that also delivers top entertainment value and enjoys a high level of fan involvement, to a series of partnerships, some of them longstanding, in the areas of sport, culture and lifestyle.

The demands placed on the players are immense, and to reach the top of their game they require extreme concentration, speed, tactical skill and teamwork skills. The high-paced nature of the games means that just a fraction of a second can be the difference between victory and defeat. And it is precisely this combination of speed and excitement that keeps so many viewers hooked. As early as March 2018, DHL announced its official partnership with the Formula 1 esports Series, making its debut into the promising esports sector. DHL banner advertising will be visible in the soccer simulation video game FIFA 18 as part of its partnership with FC Bayern Munich.

Growing trend

The new collaboration enables DHL to become active in a business that appeals to the growing trend among younger generations. The major esports tournaments and their top players thrill hundreds of millions of fans around the world, more than 60 percent of whom are aged between 16 and 35. “In esports, we can reach this important target group with the DHL brand on an emotional level, and with content and formats that are tailored precisely to their interests and their media usage patterns,” says Arjan Sissing, Head of Corporate Brand Marketing at Deutsche Post DHL Group. “We are delighted to have found a partner in ESL that is one of the leading players in the international eSport business. Through our partnership we intend to create unique moments that bring people together.”

In DHL we have found the perfect partner to provide the support we need for the complex logistics challenges entailed in our global tournaments

Ralf Reichert, CEO at ESL

ESL’s numerous major esports tournaments fill major sporting arenas all around the world as tens of thousands of fans watch live and several million further online spectators follow the action on social media. In 2017 alone, ESL’s tournaments and leagues reached over 200 million unique viewers. The best teams and players from all around the world battle it out against each other at the ESL One – and with annual Dota 2 and CS:GO winnings of several million euros to be claimed, the stakes are high. „In DHL we have found the perfect partner to provide the support we need for the complex logistics challenges entailed in our global tournaments,” says Ralf Reichert, CEO at ESL.  “With DHL on our team, we are delighted to be able to create added value for both esports and the esports community all around the world, and to play our part in promoting the continued growth of the esports scene.” 

Individual demands and requirements

As the official logistics partner, DHL will handle the event logistics for the ESL One series, transporting not only the stage equipment to the venues throughout the series but also the individual gamer seating that belongs to the teams of players. Here, DHL can draw on decades of expertise in event logistics. “Every event, every freight shipment and every location has its own individual demands and requirements to which the respective logistics must be precisely tailored,” says Vincenzo Scrudato, Managing Director, DHL Trade Fairs & Events.

All the logistics components need to fit right down to the last detail – from A for air freight to Z for zero defects.

Vincenzo Scrudato, Managing Director, DHL Trade Fairs & Events

“All the logistics components need to fit right down to the last detail – from A for air freight to Z for zero defects.” Two of the world’s most popular esports titles, the real-time strategy game Dota 2 and the first-person shooter CS:GO, are played at tournaments. A Dota 2 tournament in Birmingham will kick off the series at the end of May, to be followed in June by a CS:GO tournament in Belo Horizonte in Brazil. The ESL One series will then move on to Cologne in July, New York in September and Hamburg in October.

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