With the exponential growth of the eSports market and the increasing attention given by brands to this new trend, the pandemic has also brought an even greater focus on this market by the sports apparel brands.
This interest is mainly based on the possibility for brands to reach the millennials that are traditionally difficult to reach through other sports.
According to the company Sportcal, the deals established by apparel brands in this market went from 2 in 2017 to 37 in 2019.
Nike has been the most active brand being responsible for the highest value deal. The sportswear giant entered the League of Legends market in China in February 2019 providing a deal worth 6.6 million euros a year. The sponsorship establishes the provision of sports equipment to all members of the 16 teams in the LOL Pro League. In 2020, Nike signed three more deals including one with T1 Entertainment and Sports from South Korea.
Adidas has also been active in the market having signed six agreements with eSports companies in 2019, including a long-term equipment supply contract with Team Vitality, one of Europe’s leading eSports organizations. In 2019, Adidas also signed a partnership with superstar Ninja, the most recognized professional player in the world with millions of followers on social networks and gaming platforms.
Other companies such as Champion, Fanatics Authentic, Kappa, and Puma have also entered the eSports market with interesting deals.
With the interruption of several sports due to the pandemic, eSports gained even more awareness. Games like FIFA, Formula 1, and NBA2K have been able to reach sports fans who, under other conditions, would consume the usual sports content.