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This weekend some of the world’s best Starcraft II pros will face off in Berlin at HomeStory Cup XX – a grassroots-style tournament organized by TakeTV. The tournament offered a prize pool of roughly $25K USD, but Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke has decided that this number is simply not high enough.
I just realized that my favourite Starcraft tournament is this weekend near Berlin. I love Starcraft and esports – so I’ll double the prize pool to 50k. Tune in at https://t.co/Oi40n6NMJ4 this weekend to watch some amazing matches. (also, organizers, please contact me ????)
— Tobi Lutke ???????? (@tobi) November 21, 2019
Lutke’s affinity for StarCraft grabbed headlines last month as well as when he offered former pro player Ryoo “SeleCT” Kyung Hyun an internship with his company based on his “StarCraft accomplishments” alone.
The online reaction to both of these tweets from Lutke highlights a unique opportunity brands have in esports to create a strong connection with fans through authentic interactions. While the industry is closer to the mainstream than ever before, many fans still remember when tournaments were held in a high school gym and funded by nothing but passion and sweat. These fans not only understand the importance of monetary support from brands, but also appreciate simply seeing the games they love being acknowledged as having value.
DHL’s activation from last year’s ESL One Birmingham perfectly exemplifies this phenomenon. The company put together a short commercial featuring popular Dota 2 personality Jake “SirActionSlacks” Kanner. When the video aired in the arena, the crowd began to chant the company’s name, showing their appreciation for a company that not only supported the game, but acknowledged its community.
By creating an authentic connection with a game’s community, brands can effectively become a part of that community. While Lutke’s tweets may have been born out of a genuine passion for the game, his company will reap the reward of a positive brand image instilled in the minds of StarCraft fans throughout the world.
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