Footlocker teams up with Champion for esports collection
Sports and footwear retailer Foot Locker has joined forces with booming athleticwear brand Champion for a first-of-its-kind sporting apparel collection celebrating five top-tier esports (electronic sports) teams.
The collection, which includes jerseys, sweatshirts, t-shirts and hoodies, is the first direct-to-consumer offering to feature multiple esports teams. According to the brands, pieces have been designed to reflect the unique personality and heritage of each team.
Featured teams include Texas-based OpTic Gaming, Los Angeles’ Counter Logic Gaming, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment-owned heritage team Dignitas, community-focused Spacestation Gaming and the Renegades, purchased by professional basketball player Jonas Jerebko in August 2016.
The teams compete in a range of categories, including sports games, battle royale and multiplayer online battle arena games.
“Foot Locker, Inc. has a storied history elevating traditional sports and athletes in unique ways, and now we are excited to elevate esports for our consumers within the Foot Locker family of brands,” said Andrew Gray, VP and chief merchandising officer for Foot Locker North America, in a release. “This is a great opportunity for us to continue our mission of inspiring and empowering youth culture.”
Limited quantities of the collection’s jerseys were released on NTWRK on April 30, before the line’s full release on May 2. The complete collection is now available to purchase at Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Eastbay and Footaction, both online and in select stores.
To celebrate the launch, Champs Sports will be hosting a tournament at its Times Square flagship on May 8, offering esports fans the chance to go up against gamers from the featured teams. The tournament will also be streamed on Twitch.
Though still a relatively new sector, esports is a rapidly growing industry that could be worth over $1 billion by the end of 2019, according to CNBC. 2018 was considered a landmark year for the sector, with Cloud9 being dubbed the most valuable esports team in the world by Forbes, who valued the organization at $310 million after it received $50 million in Series B funding in October.
A further nine teams around the world are also estimated to be worth at least $100 million each.
With this in mind, the latest collaboration between Foot Locker and Champion looks like a singularly smart move, which could well see them cash in on a growing and dedicated fanbase hitherto largely underserved by the mainstream sportswear industry.
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