Adidas And G2 Esports Unveil Blockbuster Sportswear Partnership For 2021
Adidas and G2 Esports are coming together in a multi-year deal.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
G2 Esports, one of the world’s leading esports brands, has announced a major new partnership with global sportswear powerhouse Adidas–a deal that could not only revolutionize G2’s fortunes, but also help push esports closer to acceptance as performance sports in their own right.
The multi-year partnership–which will be formally announced at 9:00AM ET through a global Zoom press conference–will see Adidas, Forbes’ 11th best employer in the world last October, enter a two-year deal to become the major sports apparel provider to G2, named Forbes’ eighth most valuable esports company in 2020.
Initially, Adidas will manufacture the esports team’s jerseys for the 2021 season. This new “G2 x adidas” shirt will offer new and unique features to the team, combining the brand’s AEROREADY technology with an all-new design for upcoming tournaments.
In the coming months–and following in the footsteps of other emerging esports brands, such as David Beckham’s all-new Guild Esports–Adidas will also develop and create a lifestyle apparel collaboration for G2, though details about this range are yet to be made public.
G2 Esports was founded in 2015 by world-famous League of Legends player Carlos ‘ocelote’ Rodriguez and entrepreneur Jens Hilgers. During these last five years, it has amassed no fewer than 25 million registered supporters and is now valued at $175 million; it currently makes 80% of its revenue from esports, with a franchise team in LoL and non-franchise squads playing the likes of CS:GO, Fortnite, and Hearthstone.
Carlos Rodriguez (l) and Jens Hilgers, co-founders of G2 Esports.
picture alliance via Getty Images
This partnership with Adidas will undoubtedly improve G2’s non-competition income, but the German sportswear brand isn’t its first big-name sponsor. Over the last five years, the team’s roster of partners has grown to include more predictable patrons like Twitch, Pringles and Domino’s, as well as much more prestigious companies like BMW and Mastercard.
Rodriguez, the CEO of G2 Esports, said: “Today is a landmark day in G2 history. To announce a partnership with a global sports brand like Adidas is a truly special moment for all of us. To join the Adidas family as one of their partners, alongside global brands such as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich, is a real game-changer for us and the wider esports industry.
“As a lifelong gamer and now proud team owner, this partnership is truly a watershed moment and a childhood dream of mine. I could not be more stoked about the potential of this partnership between Adidas and G2 throughout the next years.”
Meanwhile, Björn Jäger, vice president of brand at Adidas Central Europe, added: “With this partnership, we continue being a part of the growing gaming culture and are excited to tap into G2’s creativity and experience within this area. As a Berlin-based brand with global relevance, G2 will help us drive brand presence not only in our home market but also reach global gaming communities.”
Prior to today’s announcement, G2 Esports offered an extensive, brand-free collection of clothing, and its range of jerseys only differ based on game-related sponsors. For example, Valorant players are backed by Aimlab, while BMW provides its logo for Rocket League, Fortnite, and League of Legends teams.
G2 Esports’ 2020 jerseys (pictured) are apparently unbranded; Adidas will change that for 2021.
While it’s certainly its most high-profile step into the market, the G2 deal is not Adidas’ first foray into esports. Back in November, it partnered with French squad Team Vitality to customize its sporty AM4 sneakers to create the AMT VIT.01.
Naturally, it led to those predictable, tiresome comments about how sportswear shouldn’t be designed for those whose sport requires them to sit down, but this next step in “esportswear” will hopefully help the industry take another step forward towards acceptance–and help talented players get the credit they deserve.