Chipotle Mexican Grill is getting on board the esports train. The (for now) Denver-based burrito chain on Thursday said it will sponsor the Fortnite House team for the esports organization TSM.
Professional competitive gaming, or esports, has become increasingly popular in recent years, and a number of restaurant chains have sponsored teams or leagues, including Buffalo Wild Wings and Arby’s.
“Fortnite” is among the most popular video games in the world right now, having been downloaded at least 60 million times, with as many as 3 million players playing at any one time. It is a survival game in which players work in teams or solo on various missions.
Chipotle will sponsor a team that includes some of the most popular “Fortnite” players on Twitch, the live video game streaming platform: Myth, Daequan, Camills and Hamlinz. The team has more than 10 million social followers combined.
“I love Chipotle. I eat there every week, if not multiple times a week, and our players do, too,” Andy Dinh, CEO of TSM, said in a statement.
The sponsorship is the latest indication of the rapid shift in marketing strategy at Chipotle, which hired CEO Brian Niccol in March and then added a new CMO in Chris Brandt. The company has made it clear it sees marketing as a key element in its turnaround.
Brandt views the esports sponsorship as a way to connect with the chain’s younger consumers, he said. “Having kept a close eye on the rise of ‘Fortnite’ as a phenomenon that so many of our customers love, Chipotle is excited to embark on this unique partnership with some of the game’s most notable, dynamic personalities, who are also Chipotle fans,” he said in a statement.
The partnership will feature multiple integrations, streaming exposure and “exciting surprises for fans.”