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Made with 🍺 by Franco
JULY 24 | EDITION #61
It's Friday, family. This week:
  • The Apparel Fight Club.
  • Sports' latest step towards streaming.
  • June's top selling games.
  • Gem of the Week: Scholastic Edition.

 🔥 Good Stuff

BEER TALK

The Apparel Fight Club

Ah... the world of apparel. Esports is massive right now, but the fashion biz around it is just getting designed. We're in the transition of a shiny carrot cake being cut by grandma into equal parts, and sloppy uncle Karl taking 1/3 of the cake without giving a single shit.

Because of esports orgs struggling to stay profitable, we can see different paths towards esports apparel. Let's dive in.


The Pro Scene

Every sport has it's own story, but let's take the NFL scenario for now. Through most of the 1900s, teams were signing their own deals with small suppliers, not even visible to the public. In 1990s, mother f^ckers were like "wait... what if we get the entire league for ourselves?". So, the first step was to get a nice and stable relationship with influential teams.
 
via Twitter.

The physical aspect of sports developed a somewhat diverse apparel manufacturing ecosystem in the early days, also attaching brands to specific sports like Wilson to Tennis or Titleist to Golf. With esports though, apparel's performance is the same for most titles: pro players are sitting in a spot during the entire match, not ideal for clothing visibility, which makes it easier for powerful manufacturers from other industries to cross the pond and dominate the market.

Nike, Adidas and Puma leading sporting goods as a whole, resulted in leagues listening and the core process changing. The nasty networking stage took place to decide which manufacturer was sealing a juicy agreement.

  • Nike signed an exclusivity deal with the NFL.
  • Fanatics signed an exclusivity deal with Nike and the NFL.
The manufacturer, Fanatics, acquired their major competitors Fansedge and Majestic + a minority stake with Lids like its a f^cking Pacman game. Then collected the NFL, NBA, NHL, NCAA and NASCAR as clients. Currently valued at $4.5 billion. Humm... hello?

A few years ago, we saw the birth of several esports apparel companies aspiring to one day be Fanatics or have a tasty exit, Fansedge or Majestic's style. The sports community doubted esports' reach for years, which gave time to these apparel companies to grow, but as soon as the scene exploded and the franchise structure was introduced, the vision had to change.

Today, the Call of Duty League, Overwatch League and NBA 2K League signed with Fanatics. Most of the esports apparel companies transitioned from creating pro gear to niches like:
  • Customizable gaming gear.
  • Performance products for gamers.
  • Gaming x Streetwear.
  • Others.

For the ones in the back, don't forget that esports is equivalent to sports, not a sport. These companies haven't been completely eaten alive yet. Non-franchised titles like CS:GO continues to achieve higher viewership, which allows these companies to manufacture for teams of even just tournaments.

Fanatics didn't completely monopolized franchised leagues yet, cuz... League of Legends. We Are Nations (which by that way... dope name) is building an amazing legacy. They acquired Sector Six Apparel, partnered with ULT for lifestyle apparel, partnered with Walmart, signed a deal with Riot Games' LCS and kept a biz relationship with major teams like Cloud 9, OG Esports and G2 Esports.


The Hype Scene
Streetwear. The dream.

Coming back to team's profitability struggle, since they were navigating in nasty waters, the oldest trick in the book to make money had to be applied: selling merch. At this point all teams have merch, but there're different strategies.

Mid-Tier 
Mostly occupied by teams with big-time streamers, two or three successful esports teams, a flashy collaboration with companies like Champion or BMW, and a partnership with a manufacturer that elevates the quality of their products. They know their strengths and play the normal game of merchandise. Examples: NRG, Cloud 9, OG Esports. 

Top-Tier
All of the above + a broader international audience, higher number of merch campaigns per year. They go beyond what normal teams would do, because they have evidence and certainty of fans willing to pay a high price for any product release. Examples: Fnatic, TSM, G2 Esports. 

Welcome to The Dream
We currently have two orgs here: 100 Thieves and FaZe Clan.

It's interesting because I can't think of any sports team with great streetwear and prowear. I love FC Barcelona but I'm not using that shit if it isn't for sports or a chill day. Maybe they don't need it, since all major sports teams are making bank with their prowear. But some do acknowledge it, by partnering with them: FaZe Clan x Manchester City.


100 Thieves  
Nadeshot stated from the beginning, to both investors and fans, that 100T is an apparel company first. Their streaming personalities acquisition and decent esports presence kinda camouflages apparel being the main focus, but it is.

They hired legit apparel people from other industries, designed and produced quality pieces and dropped a limited amount of collections for people to go complete apeshit and buy the entire stock within hours, while also making StockX very happy.

You might think, there are teams making more money because of the number of campaigns and products. Yes, for now. 100 Thieves is investing in a long term vision with collections based on other industries trends and adding their touch to it. The new people coming from sports, music and Hollywood will empathize with 100 Thieves apparel first, which then will transition into following their personalities and squads. The crossover is theirs, 200 f^cking IQ for the thieves.


FaZe Clan
FaZe's focus goes around their personalities and the content about how they get involved with other industries, generating insane reach. Single streamers or content creators are making more money than entire esports teams, that's why now every team is constantly trying to sign personalities.

FaZe's strategy relies on their investors' network to connect the dots and produce instant hype which makes the crossover stronger by the month. They are not going through the design path like 100 Thieves, they are collecting names. Lyrical Lemonade, Champion, Kappa, Man City, Juice WRLD, Beats, NFL and much more. 
 

 🔍 What else is there?

🔥  Logic signed an exclusive deal with Twitch, got +100K viewers in his stream debut and album release. We'll talk more about this in the next edition, I got a little too excited with the apparel beer talk.

🟩  Everything announced during the Xbox Series X Games Showcase, here.

🚙 Rocket League is going free to play, into the Epic Games store and out of Steam. Like it or not, RL is very important for the industry. Great move. 

⚓️  Sea of Thieves reached 15m players since launch in March 2018 and 1m copies sold since it's Steam launch in June 2020.

🇫🇷  Kylian Mbappé is the cover athlete for FIFA 21.

✊  Riot's new identity for LoL Esports.

🐃  Red Bull Gaming is launching a new LoL content series called Metamorphosis.

🤔  
What happened with FaZe and their exec. leaving to XSET? Go here.

⚽️  Twitch launched a sports category. The NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, UFC, the Premier League and others already have active channels. Also, Twitch will be collaborating with teams like Real Madrid, Juventus, Arsenal and PSG.

🎟  Earlier this year, Fortnite started to bet on the experience side of things with Party Royale. Roblox is now going through the same path with Party Place.

💳  $1.2b spent on gaming last month. June's top 10 selling games.

 

 💰 VC Land & Partnerships

  • Mobalytics raises $11.25m Series A.
  • Toronto Ultra CDL Week partners with Bell, Universal Music and others.
  • Herman Miller x Logitech G join forces for the Embody Gaming Chair.
  • TSM partners with Herman Miller x Logitech G.
  • ESL announces Euronics as official partner of Pro League S12.
  • SecretLab partners with Evil Geniuses.

💎 Gem of the Week / Scholastic Edition

Summer Showdown

When I came to the US to study and play soccer as an international, I couldn't believe every high school and college had insane facilities, regional and national leagues and dope brands sponsoring apparel.

Now, we get to see the same scholastic approach for esports, thanks to PlayVS. While still in their early days, they already sign a deal to be the official esports provider for the NFHS, partered with big boy publishers like Riot Games and Epic Games for IP commercialization, and grew their varsity programs' waitlist to +13k high schools.

This team is building future, and people are backing them up, more specifically with $96 million to date. Solid.
  

So, what's next for PlayVS?

Formerly operating two seasons solely within a school year for high schools and colleges, they’re expanding into tournament play with the announcement of the PlayVS Summer Showdown.
  • Weeks-long event.
  • Eight regional, high school League of Legends tournaments.
  • National collegiate Fortnite tournament.
  • Everything will be broadcast on the PlayVS Twitch channel.
  • Any high school or college in the US is eligible. 

Info/Register for the high school LoL tournaments, here.
Info/Register for the college Fortnite tournament, here.

 

📈 Stats

Twitch Games' Viewership / Last 7 Days

POWERED BY ESPORTS CHARTS
Filter: streams in English.
 

 🍿 Esports Highlights

League of Legends

Week 7 LCS / Rank #1: Cloud 9
Week 6 LEC / Rank #1: Rogue
 
Call of Duty League

Week 11 / Rank #1: Atlanta FaZe

London Ravens Home Series Finals
🥇Paris Legion | 0 - 3 | Dallas EmpireHLs

 
Valorant

We Play! Valorant Invitational
🥇G2 Esports | 2 - 0 | Fish123 / HLs
 
Overwatch League

Week 24 Pacific / Rank #1: Shanghai Dragons
Week 24 Atlantic / Rank #1: Philadelphia Fusion
 
NBA 2K League

Week 11 / Rank #1: Raptors Uprising GC

 

 🗓 Upcoming Events

July 17-26 / DreamHack Open feat. Fortnite
July 22-25 / THE TURN - NBA 2K
July 22-26 / Pax Arena Valorant Invitational
July 24-25 / Pokemon Go Fest 2020
July 24-26 / CDL Toronto Ultra Home Series
July 30 / GameIndustry.biz Live: State of Play
Aug 3-6 / Indie Game Business - San Francisco Edition
Aug 4-6 / Game Developers Summer Conference

Aug 8-16 / DreamHack Open Summer NA & EU
Aug 10-16 / Play NYC
Aug 13-15 / THE TICKET - NBA 2K


These are all online events.
 

😂 F^ckery of the Week 

Mortal Kombat, before and after Coronavirus. Via Reddit.
 

📣 Cool Jobs

Social Media Strategist — Riot Games
🇺🇸 Los Angeles, USA
Full-Time
Product Manager — Mobalytics
🌎 Remote
Full-Time
Live Broadcast Producer — Esports Engine
🇺🇸 Columbus, Ohio

Full Time

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