Team Liquid have announced that Japanese vehicle manufacturer Honda are now their 'official automobile partner', continuing the growing number of major car brands investing in esports and gaming.
Esports' growth in recent years has led to a sharp increase in the number of non-endemic sponsorships, such as Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, McDonalds and Betway.
For some reason though, car companies are becoming some of the most prolific sponsors within esports, supporting teams, events and game publishers.
It's far from Honda's first entry into esports though, as they have previously sponsored events in Hearthstone and DotA2, and even ran their own 'Honda eSports Championship' in 2018.
Now, Team Liquid jerseys will feature the Honda branding, and the LCS roster will be given keys to their own fleet of Honda Civic's with Liquid branding.
Following Team Liquid and Honda's partnership, we've put together a list of all the car manufacturer's involved in esports.
Audi (Astralis CS:GO and Origen LoL)
Astralis' partnership with German manufacturer Audi, of the Volkswagen Group, began in January 2017, and was reportedly a deal worth $750,000. Audi has also partnered with Origen ahead of the 2019 LEC season - Origen belong to RFRSH entertainment, the holding company of Astralis and BLAST Pro Series events.
Subaru (CS:GO Invitational 2017)
Subaru went right in at the deep end, hosting a CS:GO invitational with some of the best teams in the world in 2017. Unfortunately, the Japanese company haven't been back since.
Toyota (Overwatch League)
The Overwatch League was designed with non-endemic sponsors in mind, and the Toyota partnership was an indication that it was working.
Mercedes-Benz (ESL, SK Gaming, F1 esports)
Mercedes-Benz are arguably the car company most deeply involved in esports, with multiple projects and partnerships. On top of partnering with ESL and SK Gaming, they also field players in F1 Esports, under Mercedes AMG Petronas Esports.
Kia (LEC and CLG Rocket League)
South Korean car manufacturer Kia entered esports for 2019, by partnering with Riot Games and the League of Legends European Championship (LEC).
It wasn't their first step into esports however, as they also sponsored Counter Logic Gaming's Rocket League team in April 2018.
BMW (EU LCS)
German manufacturer BMW entered esports in late 2017 by sponsoring the European finals of the League of Legends Championship Series. However, despite hiring Team Liquid's Christoph Timm to work to expand BMW into esports, they haven't been back since.
Porsche (iRacing eSports World Championship)
Another member of the Volkswagen Group, Porsche, also ventured into esports with the Porsche iRacing World Championship Series, a $100,000 ten-round championship in 2019.
Renault (Team Vitality)
French manufacturer Renault partnered with Team Vitality in 2018, for Rocket League and the F1 Esports Series.
Alfa Romeo (Alfa Romeo Sauber F1)
Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo similarly got into esports through the F1 eSports Series, fielding the Sauber F1 team.
Hyundai (World Rally Championship)
Another racing esport drew in another automobile sponsor, as the eSports WRC powered by Hyundai even boasted a Hyundai i20 as a prize.
Nissan (GT Sport Cup, Team Curse)
Nissan was one of the very first - possibly the first period - to enter into esports, sponsoring Team Curse's League of Legends team in 2013, but only for a one-off video campaign.
However, Nissan came to esports more recently in 2018, running the GT Sports Cup.
Ford (Forza Racing Championship)
Ford teamed up with Microsoft's Forza for the Racing Championship in 2017, with the winner taking home a Ford Focus RS.
McLaren (McLaren Shadow Project)
McLaren haven't sponsored any teams or events, but they have started what they call the McLaren Shadow Project, with players competing in the F1 Esports Series.
Other Automotive industry sponsors
Car manufacturers aren't the only automotive sponsors in esports though, as a host of other related businesses have invested, including:
- Mobil 1 (Rocket League)
- Turtle Wax (OpTic Gaming, Splyce)
- Michelin (F1 eSports)
- GEICO (TSM)
Car manufactures are specially suited to esports, given the target demographic of both industries - so we expect more still to get involved.