Nike Jumps on the E-Sports Bandwagon
There must be something to this e-sports thing because yet another major sporting goods brand – in fact, the major sporting goods brand – has jumped on board. Yes, none other than Nike has signed an exclusive apparel partnership with global e-sports organization T1 Entertainment and Sports, a deal that includes all of the company’s teams and players.
Under the terms of the deal, Nike will design all T1 team uniforms while every athlete on the South Korean outfit’s roster will wear Nike footwear and sportswear during competition.
The agreement also includes the development of a new e-sports training facility based in T1 headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, where Nike will develop training programs designed to improve the performance of T1’s professional gamers.
“We’re interested in understanding and learning more about the relationship between improved physical fitness and athleticism as it relates to gaming,” explains Brant Hirst, Nike’s marketing director in Korea. “These athletes have unique skill sets that we believe we can help them improve through tailored training methods.”
Lee Sang-hyeok, T1’s star League of Legends player commonly known as Faker, will play a key role in promoting the partnership due to his iconic status and strong personal following.
“E-sports has lessons for the entire industry,” T1 chief executive Joe Marsh says. “Partnering with Nike marks a historical moment in our organization’s history as we work to transcend e-sports and further cement T1’s position as a global brand.
“Together, we are thrilled to bring innovation to the next level through Nike’s premier training programs and performance wear that will help maximize our players’ potential and strengthen the longevity of their careers,” he adds. “Nike is renowned for supporting elite athletes of all types and we are excited to collaborate on apparel for our teams and fans to celebrate T1 in every corner of the world.”
Founded in 2012, T1 becomes the latest e-sports company investment for the Swoosh. It signed its first e-sports apparel deal with China’s League of Legends (LOL) Pro League last February and has since entered into multi-year partnership with Furia Esports, a Brazilian gaming company.