Sep 30, 2011 at 01:58 AM
written by Kris Mathis

Gaming Partnerships Help Enrique Iglesias Promote Tour, Connect With Fans

Social game-maker, Zynga, has been on a partnership tear as it continues to cozy up to the music and entertainment industry with in-game promotional partnerships. This time it's latin music star, Enrique Iglesias. Zynga will launch a partnership coinciding with the artist’s Euphoria Tour, starting in October in which CityVille's nearly 70 million players will be able to interact with Enrique’s avatar, get rewards that showcase Enrique’s lifestyle and hobbies, and build a virtual Euphoria Arena in their city to unlock a preview of Enrique’s upcoming music video, "I Like How it Feels." This is the first time players can interact with an artist in CityVille as part of their core game-play.


"I love finding new and cool ways to connect with my fans," said Enrique Iglesias. "Bringing my Euphoria Tour to Zynga’s CityVille not only helps me celebrate my tour with a massive global audience, but also gives fans who can’t make it to see me live, a way to be part of the Euphoria experience."

"We’re committed to continuing to bring players new reasons to play the games they love," said Scott Koenigsberg, director of business strategy for CityVille, Zynga. "Through this partnership with Enrique, we’re bringing his Euphoria Tour to CityVille and giving fans and players a fun and playful way to connect with the artist by celebrating his lifestyle and hobbies – think Miami, speedboats, and airplanes."


Meanwhile, Zynga isn't the only gaming tie-in for Enrique's Euphoria Tour. Throughout the Tour, fans can take part in dance contests at concerts via a partnership with Playstation Mobile.

CityVille is Zynga’s biggest and fastest growing social game with 69 million monthly active players, and while CityVille's average audience age may be a little lower than the prototypical social gamer, you may be surprised to learn that the average profile of a social gamer in the U.S. is a 48 year old woman. Any properties that are not yet considering social gaming as a vital part of their promotions strategy need look no further than eMarketer's 30% growth trend to understand they're missing out on a big opportunity to both grow their own brand and help game makers like Zynga expand theirs.


All of this ties together nicely with the fact that the Tour is presented by fast growing mobile carrier, MetroPCS, and its handset partner, Huawei. Afterall, data usage - the time that mobile users spend on their phones with things like music and mobile gaming - is becoming an increasingly important revenue stream for carriers. Presumably, smart gaming partnerships, like the one with Zynga, create more opportunities for the Tour's presenting sponsor to promote data usage in a fun, relevant and unique way, which brings this example full circle. Having a carrier, handset partner and data provider all partnering up with the same property is a great example of how vertically integrated sponsors connected by a common property can create more value for everyone involved - the partners, the property and the audience. These days, it's less about how many sponsors you have and more about how well they all play together.

** Disclaimer: I've worked with Enrique Iglesias' management on sponsorship deals in the past, as well as negotiated and purchased sponsorships for a competitor of Zynga's.