How Major Manufacturers Are Targeting Gamers

From sponsoring eSports events to formulating products just for gamers, learn how major food and beverage companies are engaging with the eSports market—including their strategies for connecting with gamers and the types of products they’re selling.


  • Brands are now sponsoring eSports events and teams in addition to physical sports events and teams. 
  • Brands are using the streaming platform Twitch to sponsor certain players and teams.
  • Brands like Mountain Dew are launching products that emphasize focus and accuracy to break into the eSports market. 

The Expanding eSports Market

Growth in the eSports market has surged in recent years due to the emergence and growing popularity of international gaming tournaments like League of Legends World Championship and Fortnite World Cup. The global eSports market was forecast to reach $1.1 billion1 in 2021 and nearly $1.6 billion2 by 2024 by Newzoo. Competition is fierce, not just among gamers, but among companies vying for exclusive media rights and sponsorships.

According to Newzoo, of the estimated 474 million viewers in 2021, 234 million are considered to be eSports enthusiasts, while the remaining 240 million are occasional viewers.3 This mix provides opportunities for manufacturers of foods, beverages, and nutritional supplements to explore the benefits of Esports advertising and sponsorships for their existing products, as well as to promote products designed specifically for gamers.

Man at computer playing game

Event and Team Sponsorships: Moving from Physical to Electronic

Companies can sponsor an eSport tournament or competing team the same way they would for a traditional sporting event. Many sponsors of physical sports leagues and teams like the National Football League (NFL) or the National Basketball Association (NBA) and now extending sponsorship to eSports NFL and NBA leagues and teams. 

One example is recently announced sponsorship of a Madden NFL competition series in a new game mode called, “The Yard.” Campbell’s Chunky Soups, Pizza Hut and Snickers (Mars, Inc.) have all signed on for partnerships. According to reporting by, “Like many of these brands, Campbell’s Chunky is an established, long-term partner of the NFL and is moving more intently into esports through that established football connection.”4

Likewise, Sprite is an official sponsor of NBA 2K League team Bucks Gaming, the official affiliate of NBA World Champion Milwaukee Bucks. Sprite’s partnership with regional convenience store, Kwik Trip, a partner with the NBA’s Bucks, appeared on branding in virtual home games for Bucks Gaming.

Check out Glanbia Nutritionals Guide to Winning in the eSports Market in 2021 for more trends and inspiration. 

Player Sponsorships on Twitch: Red Bull and Monster Energy

Twitch is the most popular live streaming platform for gamers, where viewers can watch their favorite players live stream their games from their home computers. Gamers with both skill and personality can build a large online following. 

Both Red Bull and Monster Energy have their own Twitch channels and have sponsorship deals with players and teams. Red Bull re-established sponsorship with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins in his much anticipated return to Twitch in 2020. Monster sponsors nine eSports teams globally including Evil Geniuses and Team Liquid in the United States. These brands are also very active in event sponsorship including exclusive events like Red Bull Campus Clutch, the global Valorant Tournament. In 2021, Monster partnered with ESL Gaming, an eSports organization that stage events all over the world. 

man drinking a drink while looking at computer

Energy drinks have long been popular in the gaming community. Red Bull’s ingredients include caffeine, taurine, B vitamins, and sugar. Monster Energy also contains these, as well as Panax ginseng root extract, glucuronolactone, inositol, L-carnitine, and others. 

The convenient, ready-to-drink, single-serve format is ideal for gamers, and the products are formulated to support mental alertness. However, energy drinks are not perfect for gamers; their high caffeine and sugar formulas can be a problem for competitive gamers who need sustained energy without a caffeine or sugar crash.

eSports Products: Mountain Dew and Mars

MTN Dew Amp Game Fuel (PepsiCo) represents a ready-to-drink beverage line designed specifically for the eSports market. It was one of the first products on the market to promote specifically to the gaming community. It promises alertness and accuracy through its blend of caffeine and L-theanine. Other ingredients include Panax ginseng root extract, yerba mate extract, B vitamins, and artificial sweeteners (to reign in the total and added sugars). Newly designed packaging features a resealable lid for one-handed opening and closing, plus textured ink for an improved grip.
Respawn by 5 Gum (the Wrigley Company) launched in 2020 is marketed toward gamers. Promising mental focus and reaction time, its formulation features vitamins B5, B6 and B12 as well as niacin and green tea extract. 

Winning the Game

The rapidly expanding eSports market is creating a variety of opportunities for manufacturers of foods, beverages, and nutritional supplements. Products that provide real benefits to gamers are the most likely to succeed in this market—especially second generation eSports products that move beyond energy formulas and into ingredients that support mental focus, visual processing, and nerve and muscle response. Convenient snackable formats are best, and products that can also deliver satiety for long gaming sessions will likely do well.

From our functionally optimized proteins for bars and snacks to health beneficial bioactive ingredients and our custom premix solutions, we have the solutions to help you capture the gaming customer.


1-3. Newzoo. Key Numbers: 2021 Global Esports Market per Revenue Stream, Global Esports Revenue Forecast & Global Esports Audience Forecast. Accessed August 2021.  
4. The Esports Observer. Campbell’s Chunky to Sponsor New Official Madden Competition. November 2020. 
5. Esports Insider. Bucks Gaming quenches thirst with Sprite and Kwik Trip. March 2020. 

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