Athletic brands Champion & Foot Locker to collaborate with esports teams

Top-selling American footwear and sportswear retailer, Foot Locker, have recently announced their upcoming collaboration with other American athletic brand, Champion,  in addition to five well-established esports teams. Dignitas, OpTic Gaming, Renegades, Counter Logic Gaming and Spacestation Gaming are the teams involved in the collection which is due to cover unique branding across a range of clothing, from standard t-shirts to personalised jerseys.

An exciting and fresh take for the esports industry and aside from expected merchandise for each gaming title, having recognised clothing brands take the plunge is still relatively unheard of. The League of Legends team, Fnatic, previously crossed paths with global shoe-brand Nike, back in 2015 where customisable products were available for a short time, however this the latest involvement with the clothing industry and perhaps the biggest to date.
Foot Lockers VP and Chief Merchandising Officer for North America, Mr Andrew Gray, spoke in an interview about the strong collaboration Foot Locker has with sporting events and why this deal is unique but promising to them:
“This is a great opportunity for us to continue our mission of inspiring and empowering youth culture […] 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.”

Parent company of Champion, HanesBrandsGeneral Manager, Mr Larry Gemmell, also commented on this new development and demonstrated an understanding of the presence that all esports currently have on the market. Mr Gemmell spoke proudly of this new partnership and what it means to the retail sector:

“Together with Foot Locker, we’re uniting the esports community and, for the first time, introducing it at retail positioned squarely alongside other sports-inspired apparel. We’re thrilled to do so, and for esports fans to see the new new collection. […] With a rice history of athleticwear and growing presence in esports, this collaboration is the next step in further cementing the Champion brand’s influence on esports culture.”

To kick of the celebrations, a limited selection of jerseys have already been released on NTWRK on 1st of May, with the full range released in store and online only the day after. In addition to that, Champ Sports, the subsidiary of Foot Locker are due to hold an exclusive in-store tournament on Saturday 18th May where they will proudly celebrate the new collection of which fans are able to purchase. Available at the event will be unique activewear from Champion, and a select lucky few will be offered the chance to compete against their favourite gamers from each team.

The ability to purchase and wear your favourite teams merchandise from a selection of esports titles is sure to have a positive rippling effect on the esports branding sector. Having a specified store in the mix that fans can visit, recommend and keep coming back to, is as good as setting esports roots down with the rest of the high-street favourites. Esports as a whole is quickly becoming a fast-moving, popular competitive range.