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Nike backs esports giant T1 in Lagardère-brokered deal

US sportswear company Nike has agreed a sponsorship deal with South Korean esports organisation T1 Entertainment & Sports.

The agreement extends across all T1 teams and players, including its League of Legends team and its star player Faker, and will involve all T1 athletes wearing Nike footwear and apparel during competition.

The deal was brokered by Lagardère Sports, T1’s exclusive commercial agent. Korean mobile operator SK Telecom and Comcast Spectacor, a division of US media giant Comcast, launched T1 in October and have global operations based in Seoul, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.

Nike will also help create training programmes designed to enhance the athletic capabilities of T1’s players and teams based on its sports research facilities and athletic training expertise. The programmes will be implemented at training facilities within the T1 headquarters in Seoul, planned to open early this year.

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

Joe Marsh, chief executive of T1, said: “Partnering with Nike marks a historic moment in our organisation’s history as we work to transcend esports and further cement T1’s position as a global brand.”

Adrian Staiti, managing director of Lagardère Sports APAC, said: “This partnership is a significant milestone for T1, Nike and the entire esports community, and we are looking forward to deliver on the vision of amplifying the relationship and possibilities of physical and mental fitness with esports performance. We’re committed to expanding the possibilities for the T1 brand and their partners, as well as enhancing the opportunities for esports players. Lagardère Sports will continue to drive these unique partnerships to elevate the sport for players, brands and most of all, fans.”