When you think of Cheez-It crackers and Pringles chips you probably don’t conjure images of action-packed soccer matches. Kellogg’s, who recently signed a three-year extension of its relationship with MLS, is looking to change that. The company hopes a little forward thinking connects their products with fans of the sport beyond game day.
Having taken over the league’s snack sponsorship in 2017 from one of its top competitors, Mondelez International, Kellogg’s intends to do more than just engage in traditional marketing opportunities by being the first non-endemic brand to jump into the league’s esports platform on a long-term basis.
There were reasons for Kellogg’s to be enticed by the partnership given the success of eMLS in its debut year. eMLS Cup, held at PAX East in April, and a subsequent event held at MLS All-Star week in Atlanta, were streamed on Twitch and secured 30,000 and 52,000 viewers, respectively.
According to the Sports Business Journal, James Ruth, MLS senior director of properties who oversees eMLS, suggests Kellogg’s progressive thinking about fan access has helped them land on being part of the eMLS player experience. In January, Kellogg’s sponsored a players’ lounge in Los Angeles at the first eMLS event of the year with its snack brands front and center. Kellogg’s plans to do more of the same at an additional event hosted in Dallas on February 17. Cheez-Its and Pringles will also be sponsoring a digital series that showcases the stories of eMLS gamers.
What’s not to like about having exclusive access to a fan base that includes both soccer fanatics and gamers? If it was Wheaties that helped popularize the intersection between food brand and sport, then perhaps Kellogg’s can aspire to be the brand to carry the torch to a new and emerging esports market.