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Here’s Why Nike Is Teaming Up With This Esports Company

Nike is investing in the burgeoning esports market.

The Beaverton, Ore.-based company announced today that it is teaming up with T1 Entertainment & Sports, an international esports organization. All T1 gamers will wear Nike footwear and apparel during competition, and Nike will create all T1 team uniforms and fan gear.

Additionally, Nike is creating training facilities for professional gamers at T1’s headquarters in Seoul, expected to open sometime in 2020, as well as programs for esports players including physical and mental training.

We’re interested in understanding and learning more about the relationship between improved physical fitness and athleticism as it relates to gaming, said Brant Hirst, Nike Korea marketing director, in a release. These athletes have unique skill sets that we believe we can help them improve through tailored training methods.

Founded in 2012, the T1 organization has achieved notoriety in the esports realm through its League of Legends team, which has won three world championships. The best-known gamer on the T1 roster is Lee FakerSang-hyeok, who is considered by many to be one of the world’s best video game players.

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I can’t wait to see how Nike’s training and performance expertise will transform our team’s skills and the entire T1 organization, Faker said. It’s great to see Nike supporting esports and we are excited to represent the Swoosh in competition.

Esports is an expanding market: Newzoo projects 9% growth in the space globally from 2018 to 2022, and by 2022, esports is expected to be a $1.79 billion global industry. As video gaming gains ground, Nike isn’t the only athletic brand looking to cash in. K-Swiss teamed up with the Immortals esports team, while Puma partnered with esports group Cloud 9. Meanwhile, Adidas has collaborated on sneakers with both Team Vitality and famed gamer Ninja.

Prominent athletic players aren’t alone in focusing on esports. A two-level, 13,000 square-foot esports facility is slated to open in the Mall of Georgia in the second half of 2020; it will host amateur and professional video game tournaments, refreshments, a retail component and more.

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