Partnerships and sponsorship are the ingredients of life in sport, good or bad. Without companies investing in the industry to promote their products and services, no one knows where this competitive game will last a lifetime.
Regardless of the obstacles it goes through, esports continues to successfully raise capital and use it to advance its business. This is the case, regardless of whether it is tournament organizers, team organizations, or support companies on the fringes of the industry.
With that in mind, we’re used to big deals being announced and it’s easy to forget about the progress we’ve made together over the long term. I’ve rounded up what I believe are the biggest esports partnerships of 2020, including the reasons why they’re taking the cut as a starting point. It’s important to document so we can better track future progress.
Date: April 16th
Details: Under the banner of United in Rivalry, BMW has partnered with five of the most famous organizations in League of Legends. As a sponsor of social media and t-shirts, but also more than that, BMW Sport wants to present a wider audience and provide a vehicle for the team.
Significance: BMW is a household name in many areas and the decision to continue investing in exports is not a mockery, especially considering the number of organizations they are setting up for this initiative. Given the story between Europe versus North America, Europe versus Asia, Europe trying to win the world, and North America not appearing in global events, this is a very clear move from the auto giant. What they produce in 2020 regardless of the global situation is a good sign for the future.
Fnatic and Gucci
Date: June 25th
Details: After Gucci disrupted the collaboration earlier in the year, he officially entered the sport in June, working with British organization Fnatic. A watch inspired by the team’s League of Legends team launched, priced at £ 1,150 with limited availability.
Significance: Much like the monumental success of Louis Vuitton’s 2019 invasion of the sport by League of Legends, Gucci’s arrival was the subject of much industry attention when it was announced. While they haven’t done much since launching their co-branded watch with Fnatic, we’re pretty sure the product launch was a success and they wanted to see how deep they could go further.
This partnership further proves that luxury brands can succeed in sports even though many fans haven’t opened their wallets in the same way they do in sports.
T1 and Nike
Date: January 16th
Details: Nike makes uniforms for all of the T1 roster, including their team at LCK, as the organization’s exclusive apparel partner. The sportswear giant also provides a “modern training facility” at the organization’s headquarters in Seoul to help with player development.
Significance: Although Nike has been in the sport under contract with China’s League of Legends, LPL, it has the potential to become a more influential contract worldwide. Almost everyone knows Nike, and they see this partnership as a sign of significant investment and ownership, similar to what they have offered in traditional sports for decades. Coincidentally, the T1 is one of the most popular team brands in the industry, which doesn’t hurt.