Esports Gets The Football Treatment As Nike Unveils Its League Of Legends Pro League Kit Collection
Earlier in February, Nike announced its partnership with the League of Legends Pro League (LPL), and in doing so became the official shoe and clothing provider of the top online gaming league in China. Having signed a four-year deal with the League of Legends Pro League, Nike will supply every squad with sneakers, casual clothing and even professional jerseys.
With the gaming season culminating with the 2019 Season World Championships in Europe, the sportswear giant felt it the opportune time to debut the new Nike x LPL team uniforms which have us all pretty excited. Regardless of our gaming prowess, these uniforms are ones we might be sporting ahead of our favourite sporting people and teams – just take a geez.
The uniforms feature bespoke designs that are unique to gaming communities, including a common chevron pattern on the chest symbolising motion and teamwork. The pattern is also a nod to the Summoner’s Rift which is the most competitive battleground in the League of Legends world.
Competitive gaming is having its moment, this much we know. But unlike trends that seem to fade to obscurity as quickly as they arrive, Esports has only been growing in popularity. Encapsulating organised video gaming, the professional league sees competitors from different teams face off in the same games that are popular with at-home gamers: Overwatch, Fortnite, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, and Madden NFL.
Need any more convincing? Well a recent report from Newzoo indicates 380 million people worldwide will watch Esports this year, the bulk of whom originate from North America, China and South Korea.
With this in mind, Nike’s entrance into the world of gaming should prove incredibly lucrative, but they’re not the first. Team Vitality, considered one of the best squads in Europe, is currently decked out in Adidas jerseys. Similarly, Shalke 04 wears the same Umbro shirts as its football compatriots while Cloud 9 currently has a deal with Puma.
According to reports from Endgadget, Nike’s partnership with Esports will “improve the LPL’s image and, provided the garments are high quality, boost merchandising revenue for the teams and Riot Games, the developer behind League of Legends.”
On its website, Nike provided some background into the creative process and designs of five teams, featured below.
For Edward Gaming, the dark red colour dominates the uniform with the chevron pattern on the chest having been inspired from the sword and shield of the knight. As Nike states, “The Cyber Formula thruster pattern on the sleeves of the uniform is a symbol of speed in Esports, and the triangle structure represents the stable core of a team.”
Fun Plus Phoenix
This uniform adopts a classic black, red and gold colour scheme with the chevron pattern taking inspiration from the phoenix feather, “symbolising the creature’s rebirth from adversity.”
The Invictus Gaming uniform follows the team’s traditional colour combination of a white base, black and silver-grey. The chevron pattern on the chest was inspired by the “superhuman boost of angel wings, allowing players to literally and figuratively soar over obstacles.” As Nike adds, “A golden star above the team logo commemorates the team’s world championship victory in 2018” while “two target marks on the neck are a play between a scope fixed on the enemy and a power outlet for energy.”
Royal Never Give Up
With a colour scheme consisting of black and gold, the Royal Never Give Up uniform takes its inspiration in the chevron pattern from dragon skin. As Nike states, “The Fu pattern above the jock tag represents one of the 12 symbols of imperial authority (other symbols include the sun, moon and the seven-star constellation) and is one of the 12 symbols on an emperor’s robe.” The sportswear company also explains, “The dragon crest on the sleeves of the uniform is derived from a royal robe. In addition to the Fu pattern, the Mobius strip on the back neck of the uniform marks RNG’s never-ending toughness.”
This uniform arrives in a black base dotted by bright orange. Nike describes the chevron pattern on the chest as an upward arrow, inspired by the team’s slogan, “Fight till the end.” The Sparta mask pattern above the jock tag denotes a fearless warrior’s spirit.
Nike’s LPL team uniforms will be available for purchase from October 1, with three teams – Fun Plus Phoenix, Royal Never Give Up and IG – debuting their uniforms during the 2019 Season World Championship.