Nike is adding another professional league to its impressive list of partners, but it might not be exactly what you would expect. The sportswear brand has signed a deal to become the official outfitter the League of Legends Pro League (LPL), China's biggest e-sports competition.
According to The Verge, the deal will include apparel and sneakers. Official team jerseys designed by the Swoosh will be debuted during the 2019 League of Legends World Championship in Paris later this year. Along with apparel, Nike will also provide the league with physical training regimens to help them better prepare for competition.
The LPL originally debuted back in 2013 and is home to 16 total teams, many of which host events in their own home arena similar to traditional sports franchises. "The deal with Nike is something of a landmark in e-sports," writes The Verge. "While companies like Champion and K-Swiss have signed apparel deals with individual teams and players in the past, this marks the first league-wide agreement with a major athletics manufacturer."
More mainstream attention has moved to gaming over the past year, thanks in large part to multiplayer games like Fortnite and streamers like Ninja playing with the likes of Drake and Travis Scott on the massively popular battle royale game. This move by Nike shows that it sees the potential growth of this market in the future as well.
This is not the first time Nike has given the traditional athlete treatment to pro gamers. This past December, it also outfitted the Overwatch League e-sports franchise New York Excelsior (NYXL) with special gear like Air Force 1 PEs.
Nike's partnership with the LPL will run through the 2022 season.