Nike sponsoring Chinese LoL League
More and more non-esports related brands are taking the plunge and investing in esports – the newest member among those ranks is sporting equipment giant Nike – the company has just partnered with the League of Legends Pro League in China, and all the way through to 2022 at that!
On Thursday, the company announced that they were going to be the exclusive and official apparel and footwear partner of the LPL. This means sneakers, casual clothes and even professional jerseys for the players! Made up of 16 competitive pro teams, the LPL is looking to explore new physical training programs for esports athletes.
Although it may not seem all of that important at first glance, even for esports athlete, a good fitness regimen is a must. The league itself is operated by TJ Sports, a joint venture between Tencent and Riot, the makers of League of Legends. The goal of the league is for one of the teams to earn a spot in the World Championship, as only one of the 16 can qualify.
Whichever team makes it to the Paris World Championship this year though, Nike is sure to get a sweet deal when it comes to exposure and coverage, not that the company really struggles when it comes to that. No, this is a mutually beneficial deal that will hopefully put a bit more focus on the health of esports pro players – a much discussed topic that led to Blizzard revising the setup of their own Overwatch League to reduce the stress on players for example.
Regular exercise and having the right equipment for it is another important step in staying healthy while gaming, and that is as important for esports pros as it is for anyone else. The fact that Nike is doing this in China makes a lot of sense too – going by the number of esports enthusiasts, China is the number one country in the world – over 75 million fans regularly watch esports competitions and the like.
“Since its inception, Nike has always believed that in all sports, a strong body and will make athletes better,” the company said. “As China becomes a new e-sports cultural center, Nike is pleased to support the next generation of athletes and establish a long-term cooperative relationship with e-sports to contribute to the future development of sports ecology.”
Though this is officially the first esports related deal the company has made, they did feature an esport athlete in one of their campaigns last year. With how popular esports are, it was high time for Nike to join other big names like Puma, Adidas, Jack and Jones, Hyundai, BMW and even Chipotle.
In addition to investing and producing gear for the LPL, Nike is also going to work with individual athletes in order to custom design training programs for them specifically, though further details on this (along with the financial aspects of this deal) were not made public at this point.