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Vodafone in eSports partnership with ESL

Vodafone has struck an eSports partnership with Modern Times Group (MTG)-owned ESL that will see the international telco sponsor ESL’s flagship event series the Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One and ESL Pro League.

Vodafone said that the partnership highlighted its ability to bring gamers and fans together from 25 countries where it has mobile and fixed subscribers.

The telco will work with ESL to support a series of initaitives designed to attract more women to an activity that remains male-dominated. Vodafone will become a Premium Partner of the female esports challenge held during the IEM Sydney event in May 2018, and will collaborate with the world’s top female esports personalities to highlight the opportunities for women to participate professionally in eSports or pursue a career in the eSports industry.

The sponsorship deal will also include a new live broadcast segment titled The Vodafone View, content and advertising distribution, as well as branding and activation at the events.

Serpil Timuray, chief operations and strategy officer, Vodafone Group said: “We are delighted to launch this partnership with ESL and create one of the biggest international networks for esports at a time when audiences are growing rapidly and new technologies are poised to deliver better experiences.  I look forward to joining our customers across 25 countries in viewing ESL’s exciting eSports tournaments, both at home and on their mobile devices.”

Ralf Reichert, CEO at ESL, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Vodafone as our new telecommunication partner for various events. Together with Vodafone we are looking forward to connect even more people and create diversity in esports by ensuring better technological conditions for professional players, fans and ESL employees, fostering corporate responsibility projects and creating awareness around the esports industry to a broader audience. Vodafone is committed to support ESL with all their knowledge and strength and we could not be happier about that.”

Vodafone is already involved in eSports in Germany, where it sponsors leading team Mousesports and in Spain, where it sponsors the Vodafone Giants. In the latter case it is competing head-to-head with Telefónica, which has invested heavily in eSports over the last year. Telefónica’s Movistar brand integrated electronic games into “the core of its strategy” after also signing a deal with ESL. It distributes eSports digitally through its Movistar+ platform, and on TV via a dedicated Movistar eSports channel, as well as on Movistar Deportes 1 and 2. Movistar also created Movistar Riders, an eSports club made up of various professional video game teams, which is headquartered in the Movistar Gaming Centre in Madrid.