Looks like China’s League of Legends pro scene has found its official apparel provider for the future. Nike is signing a huge five year, $144 million deal with the LPL.
According to Chinese news site, Lazy Bear Reports, the worldwide sports brand would agree to a deal worth almost one billion yuan. The LPL has already given an official apparel announcement to its teams, stating that they were now partnering with an unnamed brand. This deal gives Nike naming rights to the LPL’s uniforms, as well as providing all clothing, accessories, shoes, and the like to every LPL team.
This is huge news, as this represents one of the first ever partnerships between Nike and a major esport. Also, Lazy Bear Reports would reveal a mockup of some team jackets for Invictus Gaming.
Invictus Gaming’s tagline on the back of their jacket, “It’s all about believin'”, refers to their 2018 run in the World Championships. Many people were hoping for a Western team to win the trophy. However, against all odds, Invictus Gaming would come out on top. Additionally, Invictus Gaming would take down the favorite of the tournament, KT Rolster, in dominating fashion. The design of the jacket is very clean, as Nike’s designs are usually top notch.
Bigger and Better Futures?
This was the second time Nike had ventured into the esports realm A month before, the company had signed Royal Never Give Up AD Carry, Jian “Uzi” Zi-hao, to a deal. He would be featuring alongside Los Angeles Lakers superstar, Lebron James, in a campaign. The campaign would be called “Dribble &”, a callback to James’ new documentary series, “Shut Up and Dribble”. Nike would pose Uzi in a black t-shirt with the slogan, “Dribble and Carry”, which refers to his position in League of Legends.
This only shows that big-name sports brands are taking notice of the esports world. This could only be the beginning of possible future partnerships between big sports brands and esports league across the world. For example, leagues like the Overwatch League, as well as North America’s NA LCS, could benefit from a partnership of this magnitude. This also lends the esports industry a bit more credibility in the eyes of esports naysayers. There are still many people who believe that esports should not even have “sports” in its name. However, with Nike being the first to sign a major esports league to a deal, maybe this could change some minds.
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