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ESL One Hamburg returned to the German city’s Barclaycard Arena this weekend for a $300K USD Dota 2 tournament, as well as the $1M finals of the Clash of Clans World Championship. ESL brought along numerous brand partners for the event, and along with integrated branding within the arena and broadcast, many also activated onsite with interactive booths and activities for the thousands of attendees.
Just one activation, a co-branded booth for Intel and ASUS’ Republic of Gamers hardware brand, was found within the arena’s concourse. It showcased gaming laptops and peripherals, and also had a game in which attendees could win a prize by stacking nine large blocks to create a complete marketing image. All of the other activations were housed in a separate exhibition space connected to the arena, which featured numerous brand booths, a team signing area, and a lounge with board games.
Delivery service DHL had a booth with playable video games, as attendees donned VR headsets and wielded motion controllers to play “BoxStacker Pro” and try to top the leaderboard with a high score. The booth also gave away branded signs with a blank space for fans to write messages to show in the arena, as well as DHL sunglasses. Additionally, the company’s “EffiBOT” warehouse robot was driven around the exhibition area.
Mercedes-Benz’s booth was the largest in the exhibition area, with a large space featuring playable video games across PC, mobile, and Nintendo Switch. A representative narrated gameplay on a large screen as people passed through and played games.
Enterprise software technology company SAP had a booth nearby. The company partnered with ESL to provide Dota 2 analytics data for the tournament, much as it has with other Dota 2 competitions and Team Liquid’s Dota 2 squad. The booth spotlighted SAP’s work in delivering actionable insights based on in-game data, including with an interactive area that showcased Team Liquid replays with added details and a light-up physical map below the screen. The booth also let players try to beat a challenge in Dota 2, with the winners receiving Team Liquid merchandise. SAP’s booth also featured recruiting materials.
Insurance company Die Techniker (TK) had one of the most popular booths in the space: a “Rage Cage” setup in which attendees could win a chance to enter an enclosed case and smash computer hardware with a hammer. Each session drew dozens of bystanders to watch as the destruction took place, while a massage chair nearby let attendees relieve stress in a very different kind of way. The crowds often blocked access to the Monster Energy booth across from the Rage Cage, which offered energy drink samples for attendees.
Die Techniker also sponsored the $5.5K (€5K) Dota Underlords open competition, which was held on a set of computers elsewhere in the exhibition area.
Fast food chain McDonald’s activated in the space, but didn’t have burgers or fries on offer. Instead, a lengthy line formed for an automated vending machine with a touch screen that challenged fans’ Dota 2 game knowledge, and rewarded them with prizes for correctly answering the questions. The booth also had candy and trinkets available for passers-by, and provided blank signs that attendees could scribble on and carry around.
A Paysafecard booth allowed players to compete in a multiplayer action game, while Bitburger’s booth challenged attendees to beat pro Dota 2 player Maurice “KheZu” Gutmann at games such as Super Smash Bros. Melee and Mario Kart 64. Weavr, a technology consortium led by ESL and funded by the UK government, also had a booth with smartphones and VR headsets that showcased the group’s mixed-reality and data-driven apps.
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