Top 10 Esports Apparel Brand Collaborations for Merchandise
In the past decade, the esports industry has exploded with hundreds of major teams participating in tournaments with massive prize pools and sponsorship from corporations. Traditionally sports focused brands like Adidas, Nike, and Puma are coming out with collaborative clothing lines and footwear for esports and gaming. Luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani, and Ralph Lauren have also ventured into esports, with top teams like Fnatic and G2 Esports. Some organizations like 100 Thieves, source their official merch through established brands like Foundation Clothing Co. This trend comes as older brands are looking to reintroduce themselves to a younger demographic and expand their reach to the . We look at some notable esports apparel brand collaborations in esports and gaming.
1. Team Vitality, North Esports, Grow uP Esports, Ninja x Adidas
Sportswear giant, Adidas has multiple collaborations in the esports world including a sneaker collaboration with Team Vitality, and Fortnite streamer Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins. The brand continues its decades old rivalry with Puma even in the esports space. Adidas was also the technical sponsor for Team Heretics, and official apparel partner for the Danish North Esports and Portuguese Grow uP Esports. Both Adidas and Ralph Lauren have deals with G2 Esports as of now.
In December 2019, Adidas partnered with Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, for a limited-edition sneaker collaboration, which according to the streamer, completely sold out in 40 minutes of its launch. The Time-In Nite Joggers were originally priced at $150 USD before being sold upwards of $200 USD on online markets like StockX. Adidas also reunited with Ninja in August 2020 for another sneaker collaboration of the much toned down Ninja x adidas Superstar and an “EMBRACE THE GRIND” clothing collection in November of the same year. Most recently in January 2021, G2 announced Adidas as one of their major partners and official sports apparel provider.
2. Gen.G Esports, Natus Vincere (Na'vi), EVOS Esports, Cloud9 x Puma
Another sports brand which ventured into the esports world, Puma has made several deals with iconic teams like Gen.G Esports, Natus Vincere (Na'vi), EVOS Esports, Cloud9, Futbolist, and Order for official Puma jerseys and collaboration clothing lines. Regarding the host of collaborations,
Matt Shaw, Puma’s senior strategist of esports and brand Innovation said, “At Puma, 85 percent of the brand’s US male customers are gamers and among them, about 75 percent regularly watch gaming streams. The more those content consumers become esports fans — which isn’t exactly a huge behavioural leap — the bigger the overlap becomes,” he says. The crossover is “potentially huge”, he continued, “Thanks to these kinds of partnerships, PUMA is closer than ever to becoming the world’s premiere esports apparel company.”
3. LPL x Nike
In February 2019, Nike announced its partnership with the League of Legends Pro League (LPL), becoming the official shoe and clothing provider for the Chinese league. The 2019 Nike x LPL collaboration saw the release of branded team uniforms, featuring a common chevron pattern on the chest to symbolize motion and teamwork.
Nike has signed a four year deal with LPL with a line of shoes and casual clothing. However, in March 2021, the LPL decided to hide the Nike logo from their streams. According to a report by the , jerseys and shoes bearing the iconic Nike icon were covered up during LPL Spring Split Week 10 following a controversy about labor practices in the cotton fields of China’s Xinjiang region.
4. Riot Games x Louis Vuitton
The French fashion label Louis Vuitton and Riot Games collaborated during the Worlds Championship 2019. The fashion house designed the trophy case for Worlds that year.
The brand also released Prestige True Damage skins for Qiyana and Senna and a clothing line to go with it.
Louis Vuitton was also a global partner for the League of Legends World Championship 2019.
5. Fnatic x Gucci
European esports juggernaut, Fnatic teamed up with luxury fashion brand Gucci to release a limited-edition watch priced at $1,620 USD and was exclusively sold through Gucci’s webstore. Players from Fnatic’s League of Legends division consisting of Martin “Rekkles” Larsson, Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov , Tim “Nemesis” Lipovšek, Gabriël “Bwipo” Rau, and Oskar “Selfmade” Boderek were featured in a commercial for the watch. All 100 pieces of the watch are currently sold out.
6. G2 Esports x Ralph Lauren
In June 2021, Ralph Lauren teamed as the exclusive fashion partner for G2 Esports. Martin ‘Rekkles’ Larsson, one of G2 Esports’ star players, was featured in Ralph Lauren’s Wimbledon Campaign.
Carlos ‘Ocelote’ Rodriguez, founder, and CEO of G2 Esports said,“Today is one of the most special days in my life and G2’s history. A brand I have loved for many years is now part of the G2 family. With their support, we will continue to thrive and elevate the way we entertain you.” G2 and Ralph Lauren also collaborated together in 2021 across multiple campaigns and events and launched a series of digital-first activations on platforms such as TikTok and Twitch, in addition to global campaigns and events.
7. Mkers x Armani Exchange
In May 2019, Armani Exchange became the official jersey sponsor for Italian esports organisation, Mkers. Mkers has fielded teams for Starcraft II, FIFA 19, Clash Royale, Street Fighter V, and Brawl Stars alongside Rainbow Six. Mkers also previously had an Overwatch team. The collaboration featured the A | X logo on the organisation’s jersey.
According to Esports Observer, Mkers had previously entered into a one-year deal with Gillette Italy in October that included creating Instagram content.
8. FaZe Clan x G-SHOCK
In honor of FaZe Clan’s 10 year anniversary, electronics manufacturer, Casio America partnered up with the esports organization to create a limited-edition G-SHOCK watch. The watch was released in November 2020 and showcased a FaZe Clan-themed red tiger camo print. It came with a FaZe Clan logo on the front and an engraving celebrating the esports organisation’s anniversary. The watch also had an electro-luminescent backlight that displays “FAZE UP” within the digital display when lit. Like many limited-edition items on the list, the watch sold out quickly.
9. NBA 2K League - Champion
Popular sports clothing brand, Champion became the official partner of NBA 2K League, according to . As part of the multi-year partnership, Champion provided all 21 teams in the league with game uniforms and apparel. NBA 2K League is also partnered with SCUF Gaming, HyperX, Intel, Alienware, State Farm, New Era, and Nike’s Jordan brand. Champion also previously collaborated with FaZe Clan.
10. Team Liquid x tokidoki
In November 2020, an Italian fashion brand inspired by Japan’s Kawaii culture called tokidoki partnered up with Team Liquid to create a collection of apparel and accessories. The brand also took over the esports organization's social media channels to promote their merchandise.
Liquid also hosted an art contest for the collaboration, with an Apple iPad and Pencil up for grabs. Logan Leavitt, Apparel Business Manager at Team Liquid said that, “Apparel at Team Liquid is all at once product, content, and engagement. When we consider a collaboration within that framework, we’re looking for synergy in all three. With tokidoki, we found those elements in a shared spirit of fun, art, and geek culture.”