Nike signs endorsement deal with first esports player - Dexerto
Esports

Nike signs endorsement deal with first esports player

Published: 19/Oct/2018 20:22 Updated: 19/Oct/2018 22:08

by Mitch Reames

Share


Nike, the largest apparel and sports equipment company in the world, has just signed Jian ‘Uzi’ Zihao, a League of Legends player for Royal Never Give Up.

[ad name=”article1″]

This is the first sponsorship of an esports player for Nike and marks a major step in the company’s esports initiatives.

The partnership is to promote LeBron James’ new documentary “Shut Up & Dribble,” which covers the intersection of sports and social issues.

[ad name=”article2″]

Joining Uzi and James in the ad is Chinese actor Bai Jingting. At the time it is unclear if this is just a one-off sponsorship to promote the documentary in Asia or part of a larger esports push for the brand.

Advertisement

Nike has been involved in gaming but their previous initiatives were centered around in-game activations with the sports simulation titles like NBA 2K, Fifa and Madden.

[ad name=”article3″]

Those initiatives were basically a given as those games represent physical leagues with large Nike presences. The games would feel weird if the brand wasn’t included in some way.

A partnership with a League of Legends player is a step towards future partnerships with esports athletes in the most popular esports that aren’t as naturally intertwined with the brand.

[ad name=”article4″]

Esports apparel is an interesting, largely unexplored frontier. Adidas has a couple partnerships with esports organizations including Team Vitality and FC Copenhagen esports.

Advertisement

Esports has a large sneaker culture and custom fan-made Nikes have gained a lot of traction on social media.

Whether this represents an opening of floodgates for major apparel brands in esports or is just a one-off partnership still remains to be seen.