Credit Karma today rolled out plans for its first activation around Valorant after quietly signing a deal with game publisher Riot Games last month. San Francisco-based Credit Karma will focus on promoting its new Credit Karma Money, a banking product targeted at Gen Z consumers (think young adults who getting their first loans or heading out on their own to college).
The new efforts are all themed around acts of “good karma” during Valorant competition. A branded broadcast segment will be called an “Instant Karma Moment” that highlights when a player helps lead their team to victory through a selfless act. There will be a financial giveaway of $10 to fans who sign up for a Credit Karma Money account that can be used for in-game purchases. There will also be subscription giveaways on Twitch for content creators involved in the Valorant community.
Credit Karma GM of Assets & Tax Poulomi Damany said that Credit Karma Money was well received at launch in January, particularly by those users in that Gen Z demo who also enjoyed esports. Damany noted her company chose Valorant because its audience overlaps with that demo which Credit Karma is targeting. “We really wanted to meet a new audience where they were. We’re focused on Gen Z and we were really looking for a partner and a partnership that focuses on how to expand the product line to first-time users, make it so that everybody gets a chance to think about how to manage their money and be able to talk to them within the kinds of the mediums that they follow.”
Riot Games exec Matt Archambault feels the partnership is a good fit because the activations will be organic and it provides benefits to the Valorant esports community.
Valorant fans within Credit Karma helped push deal forward
When Riot Games last month first announced that Credit Karma would be the official financial tech partner of the Valorant Champions Tour Challengers North America series, it found almost no traction with the esports community or the media. Why the quiet rollout? It was likely because the ink on the deal had barely dried following a couple of months of negotiations. Details from both Credit Karma and Riot Games as to what activation would look like within Valorant esports weren’t ready to be revealed then.
Riot’s Archambault and Credit Karma’s Damany tell SBJ that discussions about a deal first began in March. “We’ve been planning this in the last couple of months just as we started seeing the momentum of the [Credit Karma Money] product,” Damany said. Then talks accelerated, in part, thanks to some Valorant fans within the Credit Karma employee ranks. “There were some Valorant players over on the Credit Karma team that made some of those initial educational conversations go a little bit easier,” Archambault said.
Archambault also noted Riot was looking for a partner beyond a straight financial investment in Valorant esports. “Our approach is to always find partners that are going to invest into the ecosystem; not just in terms of investing into our leagues and our titles, but also in giving back to the community and players, and to actually help grow the sport,“ he said. “This is where I think the alignment was with us doing some research on our 18-34 year-old demo and identifying that there’s obviously interest in this .”
The VCT Challengers North America Stage 3 begins today.
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