Denny's, Complexity Gaming partner to promote gender equity in virtual sports

August 15, 2022
Sports BusinessEsports
Denny's, Complexity Gaming partner to promote gender equity in virtual sports

The GIST: Denny’s is grabbing the gaming controller. On Friday, the restaurant chain announced a partnership with Complexity Gaming — the Dallas Cowboys’ esports team — to promote gender equity in virtual sports. The move is also an attempt to couple the most important meal of the day with every brand’s favorite demographic, Gen Z.

The details: The parties have enlisted women gamers for four sponsored Twitch feeds in August and September. Denny’s will do “pancake drops” during streams, awarding viewers with prizes like delivery, discounts and merch.

  • This isn’t Complexity Gaming’s first values-based partnership. The franchise teamed up with Miller Lite in March to elevate BIPOC voices in esports. Rounding out the menu, one deal at a time.

The context: Denny’s is joining a larger push to create a more inclusive gaming space. EA Sports is adding women’s club teams to September’s FIFA 23 game and Xbox recently teamed up with the WNBA’s NY Liberty for a gaming-inspired court.

  • An inclusive approach is reflective of the space’s demographics — women comprised 36% of esports viewers in the U.S. at the end of 2020, up from 23% at the beginning of the year.

Zooming out: The breakfast chain is listening to younger consumers who want brands to champion equality. Plus, the generation has (mostly) swapped IRL sports for gaming: Kids aged 12 to 17 now prefer to spend time alone or online than with friends or family, and only 23% of Gen Z call themselves avid sports fans. Talk about a Grand Slam strategy.

  • And Denny’s is hardly alone. The NFL, for example, is also trying to recruit the next generation of fans through video games — the league counts content with influencer Ninja as part of its outreach.