The North American Rocket League esports scene saw a historic event a couple of days ago when NRG went into a partnership with The General Insurance.
This landmark merger allows for The General to have the naming rights for the NRG Rocket League roster. This, in turn, can have a significant impact on the future of sponsorships in the esports industry.
In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda Esports’ Abhishek Mallick, Brett Lautenbach, President of NRG Esports, opened up about the partnership and some of the visions that went behind it.
He even touched upon the role that Shaquille O’Neal, one of the world’s most successful athletes-turned-businessman and part-owner of NRG, played in bringing the two organizations together.
Here is an excerpt of the conversation.
Q. Sir, the partnership between NRG Esports and The General Insurance is, by all means, an unprecedented landmark in the history of esports. Can you talk us through some of the thoughts and vision that went behind this partnership and what it means for the esports organization?
Brett: With more than 2.3 billion gamers in the world, and 73% of all gaming and esports enthusiasts 16 to 34 years of age, there is a tremendous opportunity for brands like The General to reach new audiences in engaging and authentic ways.
The General and NRG both acknowledged early on the natural synergy between the high-octane gameplay of Rocket League and the need for quality auto insurance at affordable rates.
Coming in as the entitlement partner of our historic Rocket League team is such an organic fit for The General. We’re excited that they will be a part of our journey towards another World Championship title and into Season XI.
Q. Shaquille O’Neal, one of the world’s most successful athletes-turned-businessman, who is also part owner of NRG, is known to have played a crucial role in bringing the two organizations together. Can you shed some light on how the former NBA superstar’s experience and expertise helped the partnership come to fruition?
Brett: Like many of our investors, we’re fortunate to have Shaquille, who not only believes in our organization but is always looking for opportunities to take our gaming family to the next level through authentic partnerships, which is how the opportunity with The General came about.
Shaquille has been a long-time brand ambassador and loyal customer of The General for quite some time and has a deep understanding of who they are as a brand and their audience. Shaq was instrumental in laying the foundation for a seamless and organic union between two parties with very similar customer bases.
Q. The partnership will primarily focus on NRG Esports’ World Champion Rocket League team, effectively naming the roster “The General NRG.” What are some of the goals and changes the NRG Rocket League fans can expect in the coming months?
Brett: In addition to the naming rights, the team, which just won the Rocket League Championship Series Season X 2nd major tournament this February, will be outfitted in The General NRG-branded jerseys for all events. They will debut these jerseys during the next competitive event: the Rocket League Championship Series Season X North America.
The parties will continue to develop and roll out fan-focused activations through the remainder of Rocket League Championship Season X and into the Major of the Spring Split.