Creating a world-leading identity for the world’s fastest-growing industry.
A global rebrand that positioned ESL as the leading brand in esports, the world’s fastest growing sport. Within a year of its launch, it had led to a positive transformation in customer perceptions, and results including a 90% increase in viewership and a 25% increase in sales of event tickets.
Working in partnership with ESL’s leadership team in four continents, we created the global brand strategy, architecture and identity that has been adopted across its network, and rolled out at events in 56 countries.
WHAT WE DID
NFL in American Football. Formula 1 in single-seater racing. UFC in mixed martial arts. These are the ‘category brands’; the rare few who become synonymous with their sport.
When we began working with ESL, the world’s largest esports organisation, it was their ambition to achieve that same status in their own field.
We began by helping ESL to define its purpose: ‘To create a world where everybody can be somebody’.
Esports is the only sport that anyone can watch or play, at any time, from anywhere. It’s the only sport where everyone gets a shot at glory.
This purpose statement is a summary of the true potential of the category and ESL’s commitment to fulfil it. And aligns the ambition of the business to the ambition of its audiences.
We created a brand architecture that brought ESL’s competitions together, under the ESL brand, for the very first time, and organised them into a clear hierarchy, from ‘grassroots’ online tournaments that anyone can take part in, to elite stadium events featuring the best players in the world.
The path to becoming ‘somebody’ is now visible to everyone, providing a more attractive proposition to players, teams and game publishers looking to make it in esports, and to fans looking to follow the drama of each season as it unfolds.
Esports had previously taken the majority of its visual cues from traditional sports. But a category brand should give their sport a visual language to call its own.
By creating a radical new brand identity, we addressed one of ESL’s most fundamental brand challenges: Esports isn’t one game, it’s many. Each of those games, has its own unique culture, demographic and visual codes. To become known as the category leader, ESL would need to attract all of these disparate, tribal audiences with only one brand.
We achieved this by building an identity around bold patterns with famous gaming scenes hidden within them. It is instantly recognisable as ESL, and it also rewards gamers, by inviting them to spot hidden images from the games they love. ESL now feels like a part of gaming culture, and its identity feels relevant to every gaming tribe.
Since we launched the identity in 2018 brands from across the category have found the confidence to move away from traditional sporting cues. ESL’s identity is already leading the category.
"The updated ESL identity, created by the Superunion team, is more than a look and feel. It’s a strategic tool that helps ESL to meet its most important objectives. Creating a place where everybody can be somebody was our purpose and what drove our founding members since the beginning of ESL until today. So we wanted to highlight the inspiring story of the company…we want to build a place where every fan has a voice. Where the path from zero to hero is as short as possible and where opportunities are endless. Over the next months, we’ll continue to update our products to reflect our new global brand strategy."
"This is the fastest-growing sport in the world for one simple reason – it’s totally exhilarating. Until you see the scale of if it, the speed of it, the thrill of it you can have no idea just what this is. Working with ESL has been totally amazing and together we have created an identity that lives up to the sheer intensity of this sport."
Digital Creative Director, Superunion
Brand Impact Awards
Eyes and Ears of Europe Awards