Universal Music Group Partners With Electronic Sports League To Promote New Talent In Europe

ESL event in Cologne, Germany
ESL/Adela Sznajder
– ESL event in Cologne, Germany
From July 6-8, Lanxess Arena in Cologne turned into the Cathedral of Counter Strike

Universal Music Group Central Europe, a division of Universal Music Group, and ESL have signed a multi-year partnership to help discover and promote new artists through ESL’s global tournaments and channels.
The partnership sees the launch of a new joint-label between ESL and UMG. Artists and producers will be able to submit their work to the label’s A&R team, who will sign and promote the most promising talent across all ESL tournaments and channels worldwide, reaching an “audience of millions,” according to the announcement.
Ways of promoting up-and-coming artists include integration of new music into global live broadcasts and ESL social media channels, as well as performances during live tournaments, which will take place during half-time shows and prior to grand finals globally.
“In 2017 more than 300 million people watched ESL events around the world,” the announcement states.
Frank Briegmann, president and CEO Central Europe Universal Music Group and Deutsche Grammophon said: “I’m delighted that UMG and ESL, two market leaders in global entertainment, have joined forces. Together, our dedicated new label, with its laser-sharp focus on the artists and music of esports, will provide the soundtrack to the gaming experience for this massive global audience for years to come.”
Bernhard Mogk, SVP global sales and business development ESL, added: “Music is a universal language and, like gaming, one of the key-pillars of pop-culture. Over the last couple years, live music acts have become an integral part of our global tournaments.
“We are looking forward to giving new artists and talent a new platform to perform on and to provide even more entertainment to our fans, both on-site and for everyone watching our live streams around the world. This joint venture with Universal Music is a win-win for everyone.”
Crowd queueing to entert the Cathedral of Counter Strike in Cologne, Germany
ESL/Adela Sznajder
– Crowd queueing to entert the Cathedral of Counter Strike in Cologne, Germany
ESL events attract a huge audience, live on site as well as at watching online

The strategic relationship with ESL and label partnership will be managed out of Universal Music Group’s Berlin headquarters by Dirk Baur, president Marketing Labs, and Gustav Käll, head of esports at UMG Central Europe, who will oversee day-to-day operations.
“I am excited to be part of the first team to work on identifying and pushing artists specifically for the esports space,” said Baur, adding that his department Marketing Labs specialised in strategies for content targeted at a digital audience. “It will be a treat to develop international and multi-platform approaches for the global gaming community,” he said.
The announcement follows recent news of a partnership between Europe’s iconic metal festival Wacken Open Air and ESL, which saw the opening of an esports Village on site during the festival.