While eSports was once a niche hobby, the activity has now become a billion-dollar business. Indeed, Newzoo reports the competitive video gaming market will be worth $1.1 billion this year. Moreover, eSports competitions will command a global audience of more than 453 million people. Accordingly, the pursuit has attracted the interest of some of the world’s largest and most luxurious brands.
For instance, Louis Vuitton has partnered with Riot Games to produce luxury outfits for their “League of Legends” title.
Haute Couture in Game Attire
As part of the Riot Games/Louis Vuitton pact, the luxury conglomerate’s creative director, Nicolas Ghesquiere, will design new skins for the popular multiplayer online battle arena game. The two companies have also agreed to feature some of Ghesquiere’s previous outfits in the game. The designer’s digital haute couture will debut during November’s League of Legends World Championships.
In 2018, “Legends” generated in revenue $1.4 billion for Riot Games. The publisher allows players to download a range of skins for the free-to-play game at $9 to $25 per outfit. In the real world, Ghesquiere’s gowns retail for thousands of dollars.
The luxury game attire isn’t the only aspect the two global brands have collaborated on. Louis Vuitton also created a custom carrying case for the Summoner’s Cup, the trophy presented to the winner of the “Legends” championship.
The most prestigious esports prize in the world. On November 10th, the Summoner’s Cup will be awarded in a bespoke #LouisVuitton trunk. Learn about the #LVxLoL partnership with @riotgames and @lolesports for the @LeagueOfLegends #Worlds2019 Championship at https://t.co/u2oBEI5HG1 pic.twitter.com/fl4LM4Lnks
— Louis Vuitton (@LouisVuitton) September 23, 2019
By partnering with the games studio, Louis Vuitton will get its beautiful, expensive clothing in front of a massive audience. The 2018 “Legends” championship finals drew a nearly 100 million viewers. Conversely, partnering with one of the fashion world’s biggest brands helps Riot Games raise awareness for eSports and their product.
‘League of Legends’ Brand Partnerships
Recently, Riot Games has made it a priority to increase its profile outside its core demographic.
For instance, the HBO dramedy “Ballers” features a storyline revolving around “Legends” in its currently airing fifth and final season. On the show, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a former NFL player turned sports agent named Spencer Strasmore. This year, one of the clients at Strasmore’s firm considers pursuing a career as a professional competitive game. The battle area title features prominently in the plotline.
Riot Games has also partnered with Marvel to bring its intellectual property to the comic book world. In late 2018, the Disney-subsidiary published a miniseries set in the game world called “League of Legends: Ashe – Warmother.” Marvel released the first issue of another crossover mini-series, “League of Legends: Lux,” in May.
The blockbuster battle arena game was also featured in a recent episode of “The Simpsons,” albeit indirectly. In “E My Sports,” Homer begins training Bart to be a professional eSports player. The show’s producers consulted with Riot Games to make their version of competitive gaming culture true to life. Though the episode features a “Legends” proxy called “Conflict of Enemies,” the installment garnered the title mainstream media coverage.
While “Fortnite” has overtaken “Legends” in terms of audience size, the game is still hugely popular. With 8 million players worldwide and a thriving eSports league, the title will continue to be a major hit for years to come…especially if Riot Games keeps being so smart about making unconventional brand partnerships.