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What Should a Professional Gamer Wear?

The hopefuls are congregating in the Barclays Center, suited up in the lustrous whites as well as Jalen Rose reds that you wear when you know your life is changing. In front of the stage, tables for draftees are equipped and are stocked with bowls full of Swedish Fish for them to take a snarky bite of. The speakers in the arena pipe in Juice WRLD along with Jay Z while the podium is empty.

Finally, the commissioner of the league is greeted with cheers and passes the platitudes out: “We’ll watch 75 lives change,” he says, in reference to the amount of people who will be chosen in the late afternoon. Adrian Wojnaroski, the infinitely reliable NBA reporter who is throwing Woj Bombs and leaking the news of the draft’s first selection: Spencer Wyman, who is known as Ria was selected. Wyman is seen walking onto the stage, offers the commissioner a hug, and gives his best athletic talk “The sensation is unimaginable.”

The entire scene is the same as any major league’s draft. The difference is that Wyman’s number-one-pick-worthy talent lies not in his cannon arm, wet jump shot, or 100-mph fastball, but in his ability to wield a controller. Wyman is the top selection for the Utah Jazz at the NBA 2K League draft that’s exactly what it’s referred to as an entire group comprised of 21 teams (not every NBA franchise has an online counterpart) that compete from April through the end of August, in NBA 2K.

Wyman is transported backstage, and the greenroom is in which cameras, recorders and microphones are pushed towards him. A nervous looking league employee standing over a hoodie box in behind the scene is able to run towards Wyman with a piece of equipment that bears the logo of the team he is joining. Because in the same place where there are attentive crowds and huge, professionally-looking drafts there will be also brands wearing the same hopeful looks like the athletes. It’s only the second year of competition and it’s been announced that the NBA 2K league has a new apparel sponsor that is Champion. The final thing is that it gives eSports athletes to dress as the real thing, even though the jury is still debating whether it’s needed.

Wyman who is straightening his crisp New Era Utah Jazz Gaming hat, tells me that there’s nothing special about the clothing that he plays in. He likes wearing tight-fitting shirts that don’t slide around or interfere with the joystick. Isiah “Wavy” Hancock and Tamer “Bully” Mustafa, two of the night’s draftees acknowledge that they’re not crazed about their clothes. The secret to Hancock’s success? “This might sound corny” Hancock admits, “but I always play using a cushion under the arms.” Although it could be a goldmine for an innovative pillow company however, the lack of enthusiasm among players towards performance wear can be an issue for apparel companies.

It’s because professional gaming has become the fastest-growing sport across the globe. In a report published in October of 2018, Goldman Sachs estimated that more than 167 million people are watching eSports every month, and predicted this figure to rise to the 276 million mark by 2022 “on similar to NFL viewers in the present.” In addition according to the company 79 percent of the eSports viewers are under 35, which is exactly the kind of demographic that brands want to attract.

The best part is that the players are adored the way they are the other sports that are professional. More than 13 million people follow pro-gamer Ninja via Instagram and he frequently stream himself in live on Twitch often together with Drake who also co-owns the eSports team. There are times when Ninja streams for up to nine hours. Imagine all the potential ads!

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With such a well-established massive, rabid, and large crowd, it’s not surprising that Champion is working to get into eSports. The sweats brand isn’t the only one. K-Swiss already has shoes in conjunction with eSports group Immortals and a high-performance shoe specifically designed for gamers is in making. Nike recently revealed plans to design the jerseys of League of Legends teams–after Puma and Adidas have signed deals with eSports teams. It makes sense to make sports gear for companies that sell sportswear: when athletes must run faster and jump higher, cut down with more coins and continue for longer. Stylish sneakers and jerseys help make maximum performance feasible. But how can activewear brands respond when one of most well-known sports on the planet does not even ask its best athletes to do anything more than just rotate their thumbs?

“All of this is mind-boggling as we’re talking about creating shoes that perform for Esports player,” says Patrick Buchanan the K-Swiss’s global director of marketing. “We’re in a new territory.” The K-Swiss brand and Buchanan are working on shoes that can be collapsed similar to those Gucci loafers because people prefer to slide their shoes in and out during games. There’s a vent for air flow through the shoes also, as gamers have sweaty feet. These are just some of the demands that were from the Immortals players. K-Swiss will accept these requests, as K-Swiss would like its players to be satisfied and hopes that they’ll walk with shoes like the traditional athletes.

There are, of course, obstacles. In the moment that Michael Jordan lifted off from the free-throw line, Nike was able to claim a portion of the credit for the extra bounce he received. It’s a bit more difficult to accomplish when a shoe is designed to let a person sit comfortably in chairs. However, K-Swiss believes it will still be able to use the traditional marketing of activewear. “The reason why people believe that the performance tennis shoes or basketball shoes are effective is because they see real athletes wearing them and saying, “Hey this is my preferred shoe for what I do professionally,’ and we’re planning to do similar things,” Buchanan says. “We will have actual eSports players wearing these shoes and demonstrating that these are the right shoes to actually help you to play better.”

The team at Champion has been conducting research and conducting scouting eSports events and conferences at the college and high school level. “It is recognizing things such as”Hey the hands of players get sweaty at times,'” says Tyler Lewison who runs Teamwear for Champion. “Or they’re in need of additional warmth as the arena where they’re playing is extremely cold, because arenas are cold to prevent game consoles from getting too hot. ” Hancock, the Nets gaming draft pick, said the following: “I like to be warm when I play. I would definitely like wearing a nice hoodie. Champion has a specialization in this.”

It’s like hokum, a term invented to help move products. Many people who are involved in ESports aren’t keen on special-purpose apparel designed to be worn by professional players. It is more sensible to believe that some of the core concepts of sports, like unity of teams, can be applied in this case. “It can be described as eSports,” says David Robertson the Champion’s director of branding marketing. Gamers are professionals with high salaries. Why shouldn’t they wear an official uniform? There’s an untangling advantage, as well: “It unifies you,” Wyman says. Wyman. “I have the identical shirt on my back as Wyman has on his. It’s big.”

While gaming shoes that are specifically designed for gaming aren’t brand new uniforms were implemented at a very early stage. In January of 2016, before Champion K-Swiss, K-Swiss, or Nike considered getting involved in eSports, Zachary Sass founded Sector Six, a uniform manufacturer that is specialized in eSports. The other options weren’t reliable or could not take the tiny orders of teams in eSports According to Sass. In addition, the market was growing rapidly. At the start of the year Sass says Sector Six was home to around 75 customers. He now puts that number at around 200.

However, Sass who designs eSports clothing for his living believes the need for specific gear for performance is more a fantasy than a actual. “As as long as the players are at ease, it doesn’t have any significance,” he says. “They’re not going between two soccer field all day long or playing basketball, which requires loose shorts to leap into. In eSports it’s all about the aesthetics.”

Matthew Haag, known by his gamername “Nadeshot,” was on the course in October 2016, when his gaming-focused clothing brand 100 Thieves went on auction in the beginning. The golf course didn’t stand any chance.

“I was sitting in my golf cart and talked with the management group. I was talking to the facility I was on Twitter I was also on Instagram I was in emails,” Haag recalls. The first drop was sold within 20 minutes. Haag was seated in the second nine, which was when it was the time that Supreme of eSports was officially created.

Today, there’s an old-fashioned look of the 100 Thieves’ website: two words that are massive “Sold Out” (for some reason the words are not crossed out). Haag has created a brand that is as challenging and exciting to purchase in the same way as Supreme, Yeezys, or limited-edition Jordans. “It certainly helped [the company’s] brandto ensure that when you received the clothes you bought with us, you could tell that not everyone could to purchase this,” says Haag. Like it was been with fashion, that strategy has been a success in this case. What began as an apparel company is now an eSports company with the same name, which claims Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and Drake as co-owners.

Haag got the idea to launch 100 Thieves partially because of the positive feedback he’s received from his channel YouTube on which the channel has posted videos about Call of Duty and Yeezys since 2011. The initial questions were about the controller or headset that he was using to win in Call of Duty morphed into interest in the hoodie or sneakers the player was wearing during play.

According to the way Haag thinks about it, eSports is going through the same process that the NBA went through in the last 10 years and one-half years. ESports players, just like those who play basketball, have been incorporating towards their own style and impacting how fans dress as a result. Haag provides an example of this: “These professional players are wearing shoes and designer clothes and you’re thinking, “That’s pretty fresh. I’ll need to pick it up for myself.'”

Fashion in the eSports industry isn’t so much about uniforms as it is about the most recent collection in Flight Club or Barneys. The players who are dialing up their look are shifting predominantly to streetwear. Instead of wearing specific shoes for performance at tournaments, the most successful players wear high-end fashions: Balenciaga TripleSs, Gucci Rhytons and Flashtreks, Yeezys, and any Nike approved with Virgil Alboh. “They do not necessarily require high-performance shoes for playing eSports,” says Ken Olsen who is the director of activation and partnerships at RevXP which is a marketing firm which specialises in eSports. “They need to look stylish when they’re playing. They’re looking for the latest releases and the latest colorways, as well as the Off-Whites. What do 23-year-olds who are famous and trying to establish their name known would want to put on?”

In a world dominated by people who are shocked by questions like, Are you money to participate in video gaming? What is the most difficult-to-find fashion? an effective way for players to show their arrival. “For an extended period of time everyone was buying Yeezys and this is the way to let people know you’re earning a lot of profits and that you’re willing to stoke the pot a bit,” Haag says, until the point where Yeezys are most similar to an eSports shoe. “It’s becoming a cult to the point where Call of Duty players wear Yeezys,” says Olsen.

The craze for streetwear could be the most compelling reason for clothing companies to enter the game. If Odell Beckham Jr. sports a pair Jordan 1s for a game, the potential for marketing for Nike is limitedbecause He can’t wear them in the field. Professional athletes who’ve made space for themselves as fashion influencers, can sport the most stylish of outfits during games, exactly when the majority of fans are watching.

A match between teams from the Milwaukee Bucks and Portland Trailblazers Gaming teams earlier in the month revealed the possibilities of how eSports’ style might be in the spotlight. With just five seconds remaining in the second overtime and his Bucks Gaming team down a point, a player sporting the name Arooks chose to make the shot that would be the last. Arooks directed the player towards the top on the left side of the free throw line and with precision and tactical skill, moved the appropriate joystick to set the ball in the air. The player’s avatar fell.

The arena was filled with spectators, the real-life Arooks got up onto his feet, yelled the battle cry, then celebrated the man right next to him. What was he doing on his feet? Shoes that were designed for sport but making you look like a stuntman: Yeezys. On his torso? The green shirt, sporting it’s Champion logo prominently on display. This is enough for even the top professional athletes.