Activision Blizzard‘s Overwatch League has entered a multi-year deal with licensed sports merchandise company Fanatics.
The partnership will start before the second season of the league – which starts on February 14th – with merchandise being made available for purchase on a dedicated website and on sites in Fanatics’ network.
Brandon Snow, Chief Revenue Officer of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues discussed the partnership: “Our collaboration with Fanatics—the first between a major esports league and a global sports merchandising company—allows us to reach even more fans and to provide them with high-quality merchandise and a best-in-class retail experience where they can shop for all our great Overwatch League gear. 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.”
Fanatics has secured the rights, both stateside and internationally, to produce jerseys, fan gear, headwear, and hard goods for the Overwatch League. The two parties will work together to identify “world-class companies to grow the overall assortment of high-quality products available to fans.”
Daniel Siegel, Head of Esports licensing for Blizzard Entertainment touched on the demand for merchandise: “The demand for team gear during our inaugural season was very strong. 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.”
Merchandising and licensing for the Overwatch League was dealt with in-house by Activision Blizzard before this deal. Eight new expansion franchises are joining the league for its second season, and they will be included in the output from the partnership.
Ross Tannenbaum, Head of Special Projects for Fanatics added: “Esports has been on our radar for some time now and we are incredibly excited to mark our first deal with the best in the world in Activision Blizzard around their incredibly successful Overwatch League. 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.”
Esports Insider says: With the Overwatch League becoming a big property in esports, it’s not too surprising to see Activision Blizzard bring in a third-party company to help make the most of its viewership and fanbase. Fanatics is a big grab for the league, and it’ll undoubtedly do a good job in fulfilling the potential of this partnership.