Mtn Dew fuels next generation of Black gamers with esports tournament

    • Mtn Dew is looking to increase diversity in gaming by sponsoring a nationwide Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) esports tournament, per a press release. The game played will be Call of Duty.
    • In addition to a first-place prize of $80,000, the Mtn Dew Real Change Challenge’s prizes include coaching and exposure to esport professionals and a gaming contract with the beverage company for up to one year.
    • In order to pull off the tournament, Mtn Dew is partnering with the HBCU Esports League, which is owned by Cxmmunity Media, an organization centered around promoting diversity and equity in gaming. The tournament will stream live on Cxmmunity’s Twitch channel starting Nov. 9.

    Mtn Dew, which is manufactured by PepsiCo, is combining social justice and gaming with the Real Change Challenge. The tournament follows efforts by other brands to support diversity and inclusion in esports, including Miller Lite focusing on gaming content on Twitch that elevates minority voices. 

    “Unfortunately, Black representation within esports and the gaming industry is disproportionally low,” said Pat O’Toole, CMO of Mtn Dew, in a press release. “Mtn Dew recognizes the opportunity gap that Black gamers face as they explore gaming as a viable career path, and we’re trying to close that gap with the Mtn Dew Real Change Challenge,”

    The tournament follows the launch of the Mtn Dew Real Change Opportunity Fund, which seeks to invest in Black entrepreneurs through competition. Parent company PepsiCo has a similar initiative, PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey Black Initiative, which has pledged more than $400 million over the next five years to increase Black managerial representation within its own company, as well as supporting Black entrepreneurs and economic development.

    The bracket-style Real Change Challenge will have 16 teams square off for a grand prize of $80,000. In addition to an overall team prize, four “all-stars” will be selected based on individual performance and awarded $50,000 each, a sponsorship contract up to one year and other perks. All matches will stream on Cxmmunity’s Twitch channel.

    Mtn Dew has been heavily involved in both esports and traditional sports advertising. In 2021, energy drink Mtn Dew Rise Energy partnered with LeBron James for its first campaign. Earlier this year, the brand released a commercial featuring actor Charlie Day and NBA All-Star Zach LaVine for a campaign timed with the 2022 NBA All-Star weekend. It has also sponsored esport leagues in the past, including the Call of Duty league OpTic Major I.

    The news comes as Mtn Dew continues to expand its product line for a new generation of consumers, with new offerings including energy drinks, new flavors such as Flamin’ Hot and a hard soda produced by Boston Beer Company. 


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