Chipotle Launches Gaming Tournament

The California-based Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is getting into egaming in order to raise its profile by partnering with the producer of esports festivals: DreamHack and with e-sports provider ESL to put on gaming tournaments.

Newport, California-based Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is partnering with DreamHack, a producer of festivals featuring esports competitions, live music, exhibitions, creative competitions, and local-area network parties. And with esports provider ESL, which puts on gaming tournaments.

The arrangement will include Chipotle-sponsored player lounges for two DreamHack festivals in Dallas and Atlanta. The company will also be launching its own Chipotle gaming tournament it said in an announcement last week. The statement continued, “The VIP lounge lets players, talent and celebrities relax and refuel with Chipotle in between games and performances.”

ESL, which puts on international leagues and tournaments for gamers, is partnering with Chipotle and DreamHack to launch the Chipotle Challenger Series at DreamHack Dallas and DreamHack Atlanta. Chipotle will provide a trophy and free food for a year.

Chipotle Chief Marketing Officer Chris Brandt commented, “This sponsorship provides the perfect platform to directly engage new and longtime loyal Chipotle fans on-site and online, and we are excited to recognize and reward possible up-and-coming talent in the space.”

Chipotle hopes to leverage the growing popularity of e-sports into more visibility for the casual-food chain. Besides sponsoring the DreamHack lounges, Chipotle will also sponsor lounges put on by ESL and the E Sports Entertainment Association League, including the Rank S Combine competition April 12 in Las Vegas.

Chipotle has 2,500 restaurants. Last year it sponsored a professional e-sports Fortnite. It is also doing campaigns highlighting, “food with integrity,” “Real Food” and “Behind the Foil.” The campaign has caused a rise in the company’s stock. It was considered necessary to repair the company’s brand after there were several outbreaks of food-borne illness at several restaurants in 2015.