DrLupo, one of the biggest names and most recognizable voices in Fortnite streaming, has closed a sponsorship deal with State Farm.
Bejanmin “DrLupo” Lupo has nearly 3 million Twitch followers and often plays with the world’s most popular streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins. Beloved for his talent and his personality alike, Lupo has also worked as a caster for various Fortnite tournaments and events. Last year, DrLupo held a charity stream for St. Jude’s Research Hospital and raised $1.3 million.
State Farm Marketing Director Ed Gold had this to say:
DrLupo is one of the world’s most followed Fortnite streamers. His philanthropic efforts and massive fanbase make him an ideal partner as we continue to amplify our esports programming and efforts with the gaming community.
This marks State Farm’s first sponsorship of an esports athlete. The sponsorship will include support of the stream through branded replays, live in-stream stunts and product integration (here’s me trying to imagine integrating insurance products into a video game stream), event-based remote streams, sponsored giveaways, and social content.
DrLupo announced the partnership on his stream, saying that he and his family have worked with State Farm for a long time and that he’s very thankful for the opportunity.
Sponsorships are certainly not new in the esports world — Newzoo reported that some $359 million would be spent in 2018 on esports sponsorships. That said, this does mark a grown-up shift in an industry whose sponsors have traditionally included energy drink brands, Taco Bell and Totinos Pizza Rolls.
Part of that has to do with the fact that both the viewership and the popular content creators, particularly in Fortnite, have grown up. DrLupo is married with a child, and his family frequently appears on his stream. If his viewers aren’t already age appropriate for insurance products, they soon will be.
But more importantly, the relationship DrLupo (or any other popular streamer) has with his audience is very different from the one Sofia Vergara has with Modern Family fans/Head & Shoulders customers. Streamers spend anywhere from six to twelve hours a day with their audience, often simply shooting the shit. Moreover, viewers can interact through the chat, having actual conversations with the creator.
The potential for brands to harness and translate that influence through esports sponsorships could be quite powerful, but streamers will have to remain diligent to stay authentic considering their audience is a generation that has become entirely numb to and/or incredulous toward advertising.