ESL Inks Multifaceted Partnership with U.S. Air Force for ESL Pro League Season 11, Intel® Extreme Masters North America, and AnyKey

  • Post category:Press / US

U.S. Air Force Marks First Official U.S. Armed Forces Partner for ESL Tournaments 

LOS ANGELES - February 19, 2020 - ESL, the world’s largest esports company, and the United States Air Force today announced a partnership that designates the U.S. Air Force as an Official Partner for Intel® Extreme Masters (IEM) North America 2020 and ESL Pro League Season 11, as well as an Official Partner and supporter of AnyKey. This marks the first-ever U.S. Armed Forces partnership for ESL tournaments and leagues. 

“We’re honored to welcome the U.S. Air Force as our first Official U.S. Armed Forces partner for ESL tournaments and leagues," said Paul Brewer, SVP Brand Partnerships, ESL. "We continue to partner with organizations who share ESL's values and, as a supporter of AnyKey, we are especially excited to work with the U.S. Air Force to fight toxicity in gaming and to drive awareness of diversity and inclusion in esports."

As an Official Partner of IEM North America in 2020, the U.S. Air Force will activate onsite and dedicated content will be integrated into tournament broadcasts. The U.S. Air Force will also be integrated into broadcasts throughout ESL Pro League Season 11, beginning mid-March. The U.S. Air Force will sponsor the ‘Air Force Tactical Timeout’ whenever a team calls a timeout during both Pro League Season 11 and IEM North America matches. 

The U.S. Air Force will also serve as an official brand partner and proud supporter of AnyKey, an advocacy group founded by ESL and Intel that supports diversity, inclusion, and equality in competitive gaming. As part of the new ‘Changemaker Program’ launching later this year, the U.S. Air Force and AnyKey will recognize a member of the gaming community that has done outstanding work in diversity and inclusion and award them with a grant to fund their efforts. To further raise awareness, AnyKey and the U.S. Air Force will create a profile piece on the selected individual that will live on the AnyKey website and social channels and syndicated across ESL channels. Additionally, the partnership will be highlighted as part of AnyKey’s ‘Spotlight Series,’ in which positive community role models are interviewed and featured  throughout the year. The U.S. Air Force will also be integrated into various AnyKey lounges and events. 

“The Air Force is excited to partner with ESL. This partnership provides the perfect platform to generate public awareness about the Air Force and the many opportunities we have to serve. The Air Force has a lot in common with gamers, especially the intellectual challenge that both provide. The Air Force and ESL also greatly value integrity—a core value for each of us,” said Maj. Ross McKnight, Chief, Air Force National Events Branch at Air Force Recruiting Service. “This partnership showcases the similarities such as teamwork, technology and respect. It can show how young Americans can turn their hobbies and interests in gaming into an Air Force career.” 

The partnership kicks off with ESL Pro League Season 11 on March 16, 2020.