In a category first for Australasia, Kiwi insurance company Star Insurance Specialists will make their mark in the booming New Zealand esports industry as the headline sponsor for the upcoming Project CARS 2 NZ Championship.
The sponsorship follows a global trend of non-endemic brands investing heavily into the growing esports market. Gemba reports this market has already reached an audience of 465,000 in New Zealand, increasing more than 20 per cent in the past 12 months.
The competition, presented by New Zealand esports broadcaster LetsPlay.Live (LPL), will feature eight of the country's top racing sim drivers as they compete for a share of $10,000.
Nicholas Baker, Chief Executive Officer at Star Insurance Specialists, said they were keen to get on board.
"We are proud to be at the forefront of New Zealand esports," Baker said.
"We enjoy exploring new opportunities to connect with our customers who appreciate our innovative products and deliver on our promise to create extraordinary insurance for Kiwis with exceptional vehicles.
"We're excited to bring motor racing enthusiasts together in a new digital arena. We have several insurance options that are a natural fit for esports enthusiasts, including our Project and Performance and Motorsport packages. Esports and LetsPlay.Live is a great fit for us."
"We hope the success of our partnership with LetsPlay.Live inspires more kiwi brands to invest in these powerful and exciting opportunities to drive the sport even further."
LPL Director, Duane Mutu, said this was an important partnership as it highlighted a key progression in the esports industry.
"More and more, the esports audience is becoming increasingly mainstream and we are now seeing enterprising brands outside the traditional gaming circles looking to take an active role in growing the industry.
"Partners like Star Insurance Specialists, who are clearly as passionate as we are about the New Zealand esports scene, help us to deliver quality broadcasts and open up new pathways for players, commentary talent and viewers alike."
The Project CARS 2 NZ Championship will be broadcast on Sky Sport on Tuesday, May 1 at 7.30pm.