Ford, Amp Energy target gamers with tours

The automaker and the energy drink get in the game this summer.

Ford is gearing up as presenting sponsor MLG Canada‘s Toronto stop of the Major League Gaming (MLG) Pro Circuit, where professional gamers can compete for a purse of more than $70,000 playing Halo 3, Gears of War and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six in teams. The August 22-24 event is a part of Fan Expo Canada, and it’s the only Canadian stop of the six-city tour.

Since last year’s launch of MLG Canada, Toronto-based Insight Sports has built quite an online presence for the league. In addition to a high-profile for Ford, the site delivers an ‘online ladders’ ongoing engagement initiative, GameBattles, that lets community members compete for prizes and access to the live events. There’s also a video section, which features interviews with top scoring pro gamers and gameplay videos. A recent contest challenged Grand Theft Auto IV players to use the game as a base for making a short film.

Ford launched a contest, running until August 31, that gives users the chance to win an Xbox 360 Elite with Rock Band Special Edition by filling out a survey. Another contest invites written submissions from gamers on why they should be the next MLG Canada gaming correspondent.

Of course, Ford isn’t the only marketer going after gamers this season.

Mississauga-based Pepsi-QTG launched its own tour, in partnership with MLG Canada, to promote Amp Energy. The tour has been rolling out across Canada this summer, with nine cities on the list (three days each), and wraps up in Saskatoon in August. The brand has its own Amp Energy Pro Team, and a contest that searches for the team’s fourth member – by competing in-person at tour stops or entering online at It became the first pro gaming team to be sponsored in Canada this year.

The concept was created by Toronto’s The Jetstar Group – the only agency that sponsors and signs professional gamers. Other sponsors to sign on for the Amp Your Game National Gaming Tour include Xbox, Playstation, Toshiba, Blockbuster, Bell, Brady Games, EA, 2K Sports, Ubisoft, THQ, Capcom, Disney and Touchstone.

The Amp Energy tour has received coverage on CTVglobemedia’s Spacecast, while is covering the MLG Pro Circuit this year, live from each competition.