Ford Motor Company wants to “step up its involvement in gaming” and esports in the immediate future, with a booth at this year’s Gamescom set to announce exactly what this entails for the car manufacturer.
“Ford will at Gamescom next week announce significant news regarding the company’s entry into esports,” the company’s press release states. Ford has become a regular fixture at Gamescom over the past few years, becoming the first auto manufacturer to reveal a new vehicle at the show in 2018. Its only foray into competitive gaming also occurred at Gamescom, when it partnered with Microsoft in 2017 to offer players who recorded the fastest virtual laps in Forza Motorsport 7 the opportunity to drive real-life “hot laps” in a Ford Focus RS around the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
Ford put up a job posting for an esports-focused marketing position a few months ago, seeking a candidate who “will lead the strategic direction, negotiation and ownership of partnerships with gaming and esports companies.” The most pertinent qualifications concern the applicant’s ability to “build senior-level relationships with global and regional gaming and esports partners e.g. Riot Games, Activision Blizzard, Epic, Stadia and esports teams, players, leagues, promoters etc.”
Brands such as Coca-Cola, Red Bull, McDonald’s, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz have sponsored esports teams, with more using the rapidly growing sport to advertise their products. Even professional soccer teams have got in on the act, as the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Schalke 04, and West Ham United each have their own esports teams. Not to mention the fact Drake now co-owns an esports brand.
Ford might be looking to make its mark on esports, too, be it through sponsorship, advertising, or establishing its own team. We’ll find out what the company has in mind next week when Gamescom kicks off on August 20.