Organised online and offline gaming competitions have long been a part of video game culture.
Until roughly 2010, however, they were largely the domain of amateurs who would gather in someone’s basement or in a rented school hall with a bring-your-own-computer policy.
Then things got serious. Participation by professional gamers and spectatorship in these events through live streaming saw a large surge in popularity, earning this practice the title of esports (electronic sports).
Esports often takes the form of organised, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams. It’s extremely competitive, with massive cash prizes up for grabs.
Some of the most popular include League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty, Rainbow Six Siege, Overwatch, Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., Hearthstone, Fortnite Battle Royale, and StarCraft, to name a few.
Now, even major sports apparel brands are getting involved, confirming that gaming is, indeed, a sport now, reports CNBC.
PUMA announced a multiyear partnership with esports brand Cloud9 to create an apparel collection for gamers. The clothing will sell for $25 to $75 and be available for purchase on the websites of both companies.
In January, PUMA signed a sponsorship deal with Cloud9 to provide official game day shirts and pants for league players. It’s similar to the uniform sponsorship or “kit deal” PUMA has with Manchester City in the English Premier League.
It’s a smart move from the sportswear giant. It’s not that surprising, though, because PUMA is always ahead of the game.
According to Morgan Stanley, 194 million people are expected to watch esports this year and they’re within a key demographic: 79% are under the age of 35 years old.
“Tapping into the world of esports, and its broad, dynamic consumer audience, is critical to our marketing strategy moving forward,” said Adam Petrick, global director of brand and marketing at PUMA.
The video for the Cloud9/PUMA collaboration is pretty cool:
PUMA has been actively working to reshape its brand image, in the best possible ways.
The company re-entered the basketball sneaker segment last October after a 20-year absence in the space, naming hip-hop mogul Jay-Z creative director of PUMA Basketball.
If it’s good enough for Jay-Z and Selena Gomez, it’s good enough for me.
Also, have you checked out their incredible high-tech New York store?
PUMA is also smashing it on the global market.
PUMA’s global sales improved 16.8% in the first half of the year, and according the company, its U.S. sales are growing by 18%, the biggest gain by a top 10 sportswear company in the U.S.
To get your hands on the latest in sports apparel, shop PUMA’s range of sneakers and threads from the comfort of your couch, between gaming sessions, by visiting PUMA Select.
Yup – you can thread-up and get your game on in the same place.