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Konami names Usain Bolt as brand ambassador for Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 as it looks to outpace rival Fifa

Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) will be playable within PES 2018

With Cristiano Ronaldo confirmed as the cover star for Fifa 18, EA’s footballing rival Konami has responded with the announcement that Usain Bolt will be a brand ambassador for the Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) series.

The Jamaican sprinter has agreed to an endorsement deal with the Japanese developer and will feature in the 2018 edition of PES exclusively to customers who pre-order the videogame.

Having the eight-time Olympic gold medallist feature in its marketing is an unusual move for Konami, but with EA Sports naming Cristiano Ronaldo as the face of its marketing for Fifa 18 Konami’s decision sums up its approach to competing with its more dominant rival in the videogame industry, naming by offering an accomplished alternative to the Fifa colossus.

Jonas Lygaard, senior director of brand and business development at Konami, said: “Usain’s enthusiasm and willingness to help with his inclusion in the game have been fantastic, and we look forward to those pre-ordering the game unleashing his pace on unsuspecting defences when PES 2018 is released.”

While Bolt has never played professionally, the 30-year-old has made no secret of his love of the sport and being a supporter of Manchester United.

“I love football and have played PES for as long as I can remember,” said Bolt. “It's the best football game there is and it's a great honour to be a part of it and its success. Having my face and movements scanned for use in the game was a fascinating process and I hope those who pre-order the game make full use of my pace and skill.”

Pre-order bonuses have long served as a marketing tool for game developers and the trend as grown increasingly prominent in recent years, with exclusive content being offered to customers who commit to purchasing the game ahead of its release. Konami’s decision to have Bolt drive its pre-order sales is matched by EA’s library of pre-order incentives which include three-days early access to the game and having legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo playable in the game.

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Tony Connelly

I cover media, marketing and sponsorship news within the sports industry. This includes breaking news as well as writing feature pieces with insights from experts in the sports marketing world.

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