SkipTheDishes and Universal Music get into the e-sports game with OverWatch

Food delivery service SkipTheDishes has signed a multi-year deal with Toronto e-sports company OverActive Media, making it the official food delivery service of the Toronto Defiant of the Overwatch League.

The deal will see SkipTheDishes create “unique experiences” at the Defiant Homestand Weekends at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall, while fans watching the livestream can participate in giveaways and contesting through select Defiant players selected as SkipTheDishes brand ambassadors.

“The food category is a competitive partnership category, and we are thrilled to be welcoming the leading brand in Canada into the OAM family,” said Tyler Keenan, OverActive Media’s VP of global partnerships, in a release. “Our home games are going to be the highest expression of our Toronto Defiant brand this season and having a partner like SkipTheDishes alongside us will make a substantial difference to the fan experience.”

Toronto Defiant is one of three OverActive e-sports teams. Its Toronto Ultra was launched last fall to compete in the Call of Duty league, and it also has a squad in the the League of Legends European Championship.

SkipTheDishes joins Bell, Canon and Universal Music as OverActive sponsors. Bell bought a minority stake in OverActive Media in June to become the company’s first marketing partner. In July, Canon signed on as the official camera and official streaming camera partner for the Defiant, while Universal signed on just last month.

Team-based video gaming may still be in its infancy relative to other big league sports, but its rising popularity is undeniable. Business Insider reported late last year that viewership is expected to grow at a 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2019 and 2023, up from 454 million in 2019 to 646 million in 2023. Revenue was expected to reach $1.1 billion last year with most of that—an estimated $897 million—resulting from brand partnerships.

As part of its pitch to marketers, OverWatch has its own research to show that Generation Z and Millennials are more likely to be gamers (69%) than traditional sports fans (61%). Among Ontarians aged 13-37, interest in Call of Duty matched that of Major League Soccer (11%), not far behind Major League Baseball at 16%.

Universal has been working with OAM for months, but announced a formalized deal Jan. 23. Universal said the goal is to drive awareness and engagement with Universal Music Canada artists; develop content “at the intersection of music and gaming;” and integrate music into e-sports live events.

For example, music from Universal artists will be featured in original content from OverWatch and will provide the walk-out music during live broadcasts and other activations. In addition, Defiant and Ultra players will curate playlists featuring Universal artists.

“Our partnership with OverActive Media allows us to grow awareness of our artists and their music with the highly engaged gaming community,” said Jeffrey Remedios, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Canada. “The popularity of e-sports has skyrocketed, and we look forward to being OAM’s official music sponsor during these early days as they kick-off their Toronto leagues and in the years to come.”

David Brown