Cadillac teams up with TSM for first-ever esports partnership


Welcome to the club, Cadillac.

It’s not that unusual for top-tier esports organizations and events to attract major corporate partners. Think of Gucci teaming up with Fnatic to create a watch that mere mortals could never afford. (Or FaZe Clan getting together with Casio for a somewhat more attainable timepiece.)

Recall, also, the dynamic duo of IBM and the Overwatch League. To say nothing of the BMW promotion that saw the German automaker inking deals with Cloud9, Fnatic, FunPlus Phoenix, G2 Esports, and T1.

When it comes to prestige brands, however, not many come with the sheer sparkle of Cadillac. Whether it’s totally justified in the modern era is a matter for debate elsewhere, but just the name of General Motors’ luxury-vehicle division retains its lustre. Just how much lustre, you ask? Consider this passage from a 2009 New York Times article:

“The Cadillac of such-and-such” became such a popular form of praise in the late ’40s and ’50s that even advertisers of relatively small-ticket items borrowed the brand name to bask in its reflected glory. Hillquist sold “the Cadillac of all trim saws,” a Huffy children’s bicycle was “the Cadillac of the sand-pile set,” Rock-Ola was “the Cadillac of phonographs” and so on. G.M. didn’t object to this appropriation, since it only further boosted the status of the Cadillac brand. After all, according to a 1959 advertisement, Cadillac was “the world’s best synonym for quality.”

The pairing makes a lot of sense

Now, Cadillac is partnering with an esports organization for the first time. And that’s kind of a big deal. TSM issued a press release today that officially named Cadillac as its “exclusive automotive partner”.

The pairing makes a lot of sense. After all, TSM (a.k.a. Team SoloMid) is one of the leading organizations in esports. TSM has active rosters in everything from League of Legends and Rainbow 6 Siege to Super Smash Bros. and Teamfight Tactics.

Last summer TSM officially branched out into the chess world by signing Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura.

So what does the deal entail? Well, here’s what today’s press release says:

The campaign kicks off with the unveiling of the all-new TSM jersey prominently featuring the iconic Cadillac logo. The partnership will offer avid TSM and esports fans alike access to exclusive streaming events, custom video and social media content, and experiential events and activations at the brand new, state-of-the-art TSM Performance Center.

That’s right: “experiential events and activations”!

No idea what that means.

As for the new jersey, you can see it this video from TSM’s YouTube channel:

An “iconic global brand”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with such an iconic global brand like Cadillac,” said Ned Watkins, TSM’s senior VP of sales. “Cadillac has a century-long history, a commitment to innovation, and worldwide recognition that aligns perfectly with TSM’s performance and excellence pillars.

“We are humbled and excited to team up with Cadillac through their first esports partnership and add them to TSM’s existing family of stellar brand partners,” Watkins added.

“Cadillac is excited to enter the esports space as part of the TSM family,” said Bryan Steele, manager of emerging media and partnerships for GM. “Whether on the road, or on the Rift, our organizations place an incredibly high value on innovation and craftsmanship. Given our shared values, and the pedigree of Cadillac and TSM, it was a natural fit to team up with one of the most decorated esports teams in the world.”

I have done a lot of different things over the course of my life and professional career. I have interviewed Oscar and Grammy winners and written cover stories for glossy newsstand magazines. I have played guitar in a rock band on national TV and run an independent music label for which I wrote all of the PR and marketing materials. In my spare time, I sweated out a novel about a world where raccoons are kings and dragons are real.

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