Mercedes-Benz South Africa has partnered with a Cape Town-based esports organisation, ATK. This is the first time that a motorsport company has partnered with an esports organisation in South Africa. Mercedes-Benz SA will sponsor their League of Legends and Sim Racing teams.
As part of their partnership, they will jointly host the new Mercedes-Benz ATK Pro Series. This is one of the biggest Sim Racing series in the country. The series will also give its participants the opportunity to race in a series of GT3 race cars. The event began last Friday and it invited the top Sim racers from across the country to compete in the regional event. The winners of the Pro Series will be given the chance to represent South Africa at the global FIA Motorsport Games in October.
The car brand will also become the sponsor of the ATK Arena, a state of the art gaming space. This space is not just for esports professionals, the gaming space that ATK provides is open to the public and aims to bring the professional gaming experience and the ability to compete in esports to the public.
Warren Barkhuizen, ATK CEO wrote: “We could not have hoped for a better partner to bring Esports to a wider audience whilst boosting the overall profile of gaming in South Africa and beyond.”
Selvin Govender, Marketing Director for Mercedes-Benz South Africa also stated: “Mercedes-Benz and ATK will push the boundaries between virtual and reality showcasing the latest in innovation.”
ATK fields teams in games like Apex Legends, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Rainbow Six, League of Legends, and sim racing as well as providing a platform for some of South Africa’s most popular esports content creators. The organisation was established in 2017 and emerged as a growing figure in the international esports arenas as well as one of the leading figures in the South African gaming industry.
Outside of South Africa, Mercedes-Benz is already heavily invested in the esports industry. They first began to take an interest in esports in 2017 when they became a partner of ESL, one of the largest esports companies in the world. In 2018 they took that partnership further by becoming the global ESL mobility partner. Outside of partnerships they also became the first car brand to invest in an esports team, SK Gaming.
2020 was their biggest year to date for esports, the company became the exclusive automotive partner of all global League of Legends Esports events of Riot Games – the Mid-Season Invitational, Worlds and the All-Star Event.
Esports in South Africa
This is a huge step forward for esports in South Africa. They are already becoming a major competitor on the global stage, in fact ATK is already a perfect example of what is to come. It was unfortunate that Cloud9 picked up ATK CS:GO’s full roster in 2020 because they removed the team from a local organisation, but it does show that the talent coming out of the region is certainly on par, if not better than anywhere else on the globe.