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    P&G’s Always, Tampax sponsor esports tournament to break down gender barriers

    • Procter & Gamble brands Tampax and Always are upping their stake in professional gaming with the sponsorship of a new tournament focused on the shooter title Valorant, per a news release.
    • The feminine care marketers partnered with esports organization Gen.G and Galorants, the largest community of female-identifying and nonbinary Valorant players, to put on the in-person Astral Clash competition. Two qualifying rounds will be held June 17-19 and July 15-17, and the final four teams will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the grand finale on Aug. 6.
    • On-air esports personality Lucy Mae is hosting Astral Clash, while Tampax and Always are deploying a team of ambassadors including Krystalogy, Blisskai, Nicki Taylor, Jessica Kim, Raeyei and Shannon Williams on the ground. P&G’s backing aims to provide more opportunities for a demographic that is typically underserved in esports.

    P&G is porting over an established message around equality in sports to the pro gaming arena with the Valorant tournament sponsored by Tampax and Always. The feminine care brands investing more in the category speaks to how gaming is attracting a wider swath of marketers than it once did, including those offering products targeted at women.

    The pandemic made video games more popular than ever, and industry research has frequently emphasized that the audience has diversified well beyond the young men with which it is most frequently associated. Two-thirds of adults and three-quarters of children played video games on a weekly basis in 2021, according to research from the Entertainment Software Association, and roughly 45% of gamers were women.

    Wider adoption doesn’t necessarily equal inclusion, however, and P&G is attempting to use its marketing muscle to fill out gaps in the esports programming for Valorant, a popular offering in the hero-shooter genre. In the release, Astral Clash is billed as the first in-person tournament for Galorants and one of the “very few opportunities” for the female-identifying Valorant community. Valorant went live in June 2020, when official in-person gatherings were on hold due to COVID-19.

    “We’re beyond the point of needless separation when it comes to esports when there are likely teams who desperately need this level of talent in their own organization,” said Nicci Barker, owner and co-creator of Galorants, in a press statement. “With the help of Tampax and Always we are helping break down these gender barriers.”

    Tampax and Always’ positioning around empowerment with Astral Clash squares with efforts the brands have run in the past for traditional sports. Always, for example, has a #KeepHerPlaying platform that urges girls reaching puberty to stay in sports despite facing adversity or a lack of motivation. The brand also received widespread accolades for a 2014 campaign that subverts the negative associations with doing an activity “like a girl.”

    Beyond the tournament play, Astral Clash will feature ambassador-led programming in the form of livestreams, community giveaways, in-person mentorship opportunities and Q&A sessions. The different ambassador teams are additionally raising money to support causes relevant to women: Tampax’s lineup will be playing for the Period Education Project, while Always is raising money for the Uniquely You Summit, an organization centered on empowering Black girls.

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