As esports continues to see explosive growth, brands and platforms are placing bets on favorite gamers and creating premium content opportunities to engage fans. One of the latest: LVL UP, an IGTV series hosted by esports commentator and influencer Alex ‘Goldenboy’ Mendez and sponsored by Subnation and IMGN.
According to Seven Volpone, CEO of Big Block Capital Group (Subnation’s parent), “LVL UP takes an ‘everyday’ gamer and helps them experience the latest trends within the community by leveling up their gaming lair with everything from hardware, furniture, A/V equipment, and other innovative peripherals, courtesy of Goldenboy and our brand partners.” Those partners include Vizio, Razer, RIG, and Buddah Tek.
It’s a natural fit for brands in the esports space to harness the power of social video to highlight their latest gadgets and inspire gamers to upgrade. And it doesn’t hurt to be associated with the warm-and-fuzzies that bubble up when an “everyday” person gets help achieving their esports dreams.
“When I was coming up as a gamer, it was really difficult to keep on top of the latest technology and trends,” says Mendez. “I’m excited to help gamers like myself amp up their game with the latest technology that takes their experience to the next level.”
The first episode of LVL UP, uploaded Aug. 30, features Overwatch gamer Lam Le, who has big ideas for his dream gaming setup, but doesn’t have the financial means to achieve them. Mendez and his team step in to help build Le’s ultimate gaming experience with a whole host of gear and goodies, including a smart TV and home theater sound system from Vizio, the Buddah Tek Rover 1 personal gaming console, a Lenovo Legion gaming PC, and more.
The video has so far generated over 9,200 views, with 8,800 of them occurring in the first three days, according to the V3 rating from social video analytics company Tubular Labs. The series’ second episode, which dropped on Aug. 31, has over 7,300 views and a V3 rating of 7,169.
Partnering with an influencer like Mendez allows IGTV to instantly connect with his dedicated fanbase across social channels: on Instagram, where he has 27.7K followers, he has a “mainstream” engagement rate of 3.02%, according to CreatorIQ, an influencer platform that helps companies run brand ambassador campaigns with content creators.
CreatorIQ also has audience demographics for Mendez across social networks: his audience is primarily male (92%), with 24.8% under the age of 18 and 67.8% located in the U.S.
“IMGN’s TryHard and Subnation are building a stronger connection for gamers with the games they play and the gaming community at large,” says Barak Shragai, co-founder and CEO of IMGN, summing up the whole point of LVL UP. “We chose Goldenboy to host this makeover series because we knew our audience would connect with him through this unique approach to redefining the in-home gaming experience.”