Fanatics Signs Deal to Create Merch, Run Online Stores for Major Esports League
The last time we checked in on the Overwatch League (OWL), the esports brainchild was facing criticism from Major League Baseball over its intended logo. Fast forward more than 16 months, and the newbie has started to position itself as a possible rival to America’s pastime and other prominent sports for action-crazed end-users’ attention. Set to launch its second season on Valentine’s Day, the league will further its reach not only through an increased set of teams but also via a merchandise partnership with Fanatics Inc.
As the world’s largest seller of licensed sports apparel, the Jacksonville-headquartered entity has reaped its share of coverage in Promo Marketing, and the deal with Blizzard Entertainment, the game publisher behind Overwatch, will help Fanatics to add to a portfolio that includes ties with the NBA, NFL, NHL and NASCAR. Thanks to the business relationship, Overwatch disciples will, according to Bloomberg News, enjoy “a significant expansion of fan gear like jerseys, T-shirts and hats,” with the added merchandise dovetailing with the creation of eight more franchises to make this second go-round an even more compelling experience.
— Fanatics (@Fanatics) December 3, 2018
“Because we like to think of ourselves as blazing new trails in esports with Overwatch League, we certainly want to be partnering with the best in the business to help us get down that trail and keep being what we hope is the best esports league in the world,” Blizzard Entertainment’s head of esports licensing, Daniel Siegel, said.
Fanatics elected to team with Blizzard after a two-year process, through which the company took cues from partners across other sports who had invested in OWL. An ESPN account of the commercial kinship notes that Fanatics found itself drawn to Blizzard’s “regional connections,” ties that could very well become more intense since two of the aforementioned eight new entrants, who will be swelling OWL’s ranks to 20 franchises, will represent Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Those cities will mesh with representative squads from Boston, Dallas, Florida, Houston, Los Angeles, which has two teams, New York, Promo Marketing’s Philadelphia and San Francisco as North American-based torchbearers for not only pulsating video game action but also, now, promotional merch.
Guess what! We’re gearing up with @Fanatics! 😎
— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) December 3, 2018
Since the expansion will also include six international teams, Fanatics figures to expand its reach across the globe, as the agreement will lead to various sorts of goods for all 20 clubs. There will be “select brick-and-mortar integration,” according to ESPN, but the deal between Blizzard Entertainment and Fanatics will primarily end up executed through an e-commerce website. Regardless of the means by which end-users will be able to acquire items, we are pretty excited, despite having zero experience with playing “Overwatch,” to see the merch, as we are fond of the logos of, among others, the Philadelphia Fusion, Houston Outlaws and San Francisco Shock. Come Feb. 14, here’s hoping every OWL fan has fallen in love with the offerings.