Finding a way to connect with Millenials is a key element of esports sponsorship.

Studies released last year indicated that people from the 21-35 year old age demographic made up 53 per cent of esports viewers.

Young people consume content in a range of different ways compared to yesteryear, which made them a tricky group to get in front of.

New Zealand Esports Federation president Ben Lenihan said the growing viewership of esports meant a more diverse range of companies would support the sport.


"There is no doubt there has been a widening of the companies interested in sponsorship. Initially, it was mainly technology companies, especially peripheral suppliers like Logitech and Samsung," he said.

"However, now sponsors are coming to esports from a large number of industries not directly related to technology products. These include drink manufacturers, car manufacturers, fast food giants and film companies. These companies have come to realise the unique demographic that is reachable through esports."

Star Insurance Specialists broke new ground after signing on as the title sponsor for the Project CARS 2 NZ Championship that gets underway in Auckland tonight.

They are one of the first non-endemic sponsors to support an event in Australasia and this represents a shift in thinking for esports sponsorship.

Lenihan said this had followed on from global trends of major brand names becoming associated with esports.

"Millennials are definitely a group for which esports is well suited as a promotional vehicle. They are spurning traditional media in favour of media like Twitch and YouTube.

"Esports offers a new window into a growing and affluent demographic."

In February, car giant Renault partnered with Team Vitality, France's most successful esports team, indicating the global appeal.

"As a discipline, esports have a promising, far-reaching future and we're looking forward to connecting people from Renault Sport Racing to these young gamers and being a part of it," Bastien Schupp, vice president global brand strategy and marketing communications at Groupe Renault, said.

Duane Mutu, director at LPL, said mainstream interest in esports would continue to grow in the future.

"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," Mutu said.

Tonight's Project CARS 2 NZ Championship will pit eight of New Zealand's best simulation drivers against each other as they fight for a share of $10,000.

The event will be broadcast on Sky Sport from 7.30pm and will be screened online on Twitch.

Mutu said with more big-name brands coming on board, esports fans can expect bigger and better things.

"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."