US Navy paid $2m to marketing firm for esports

US Navy paid $2m to marketing firm for esports

The United States Navy shelled out $2m to marketing firm Young & Rubicam to help enter the esports sector.

That's according to Motherboard, who obtained documents via a Freedom of Information Act request, which show that the Navy contracted this "full-service marketing agency" to reach and hopefully recruit young people through platforms like Twitch.

That $2m spend is just one per cent of the $200m that its estimated the US Navy will spend on recruitment and advertising this year.

“The objective of this initiative is to develop a relationship between the Navy and the E-Sports community, to encourage these ingenuity seekers to view the Navy as aligning with their interests and providing the rewards that they seek, ultimately inspiring prospects to want to join the U.S. Navy and the influencers to support or recommend service,” these documents said.

Despite what is said in these documents, the US Navy has denied that it was using Twitch and esports to find recruits.

“The purpose of the Navy’s esports team is designed for outreach and awareness,” Commander Lara Bollinger, Public Affairs Officer, Navy Recruiting Command said.

“The Navy does not actively recruit on Twitch or through such streaming platforms, and the esports team members are there to answer questions about their experiences in the Navy.”

The US Navy's entry into esports came alongside similar efforts by other branches of the armed forces, including the US Army, Air Force and National Guard. The US Army came under fire in July over allegations that it was having its Twitch viewers click through to a competition to win an Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, only to be taken through to a recruitment form.

Twitch told the US Army to stop trying to recruit on its platform, with this branch of the US armed forces retreating from the streaming service.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.