Fanatics is embracing the e-sports industry.
The licensed sports merchandise retailer said Monday it has signed a deal with the Overwatch League, the first major global professional e-sports league, to produce jerseys, fan gear, headwear and hard goods for all retail and wholesale channels in the U.S. and internationally.
The agreement is the first of its kind between a major retailer and an official e-sports league. Overwatch League was created by Blizzard Entertainment, a division of Activision Blizzard, 15 years ago and has teams across Asia, Europe, and North America including the Atlanta Reign, Chengdu Hunters, Paris Eternal, Toronto Defiant and Washington Justice.
Under the terms of the deal, Fanatics will also establish a new global e-commerce and mobile shopping platform and will operate retail locations at all league events at Overwatch’s regular-season games at Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles and other venues.
“Our collaboration with Fanatics allows us to reach even more fans and to provide them with high-quality merchandise and a best-in-class retail experience,” said Brandon Snow, chief revenue officer of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. “Fanatics has a proven track record of success with major sports brands and we’re excited to work with them in expanding this part of our business.”
“The demand for team gear during our inaugural season was very strong,” said Daniel Siegel, head of e-sports licensing for Blizzard Entertainment. “A significant number of fans — for regular-season matches at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles and at the Grand Finals in Brooklyn — showed up in jerseys to support their teams, and we’re thrilled to make it even easier for them to represent their favorite teams and players.”
Ross Tannenbaum, head of special projects for Fanatics, said the e-sports arena “has been on our radar for some time now. Our omnichannel retail capabilities and real-time vertical manufacturing model will ensure that Overwatch League fans across the globe have unprecedented access to a wide assortment of merchandise to be able to show their passion and pride for the teams and players they love, whether shopping online, on their phone, or at one of many league events.”
The agreement between the Overwatch League and Fanatics will kick off before the start of the 2019 Overwatch League season on Feb. 14.