Nike invest in eSports gamers in South Korea to allow them to just do it

By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific



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January 16, 2020 | 4 min read

Nike will be sponsoring teams and players in the T1 Entertainment & Sports organization including the League of Legends team and the gamer known as Faker (Lee Sang-hyeok).

T1 Entertainment & Sports is a global eSports joint venture that owns and operates T1 League of Legends (LoL) Champions Korea (LCK) team, along with teams in competitive gaming segments that include Fortnite, Dota 2, PUBG, Super Smash Bros., Hearthstone, Apex Legends and Overwatch.


The sponsorship will see all T1 athletes wearing Nike footwear and apparel uniforms during competition.

The T1 LoL LCK team, previously known as SK Telecom T1 won three LoL World Championships in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

The sponsorship will see all T1 athletes wearing Nike footwear and apparel uniforms during competition.

Nike will also create training programmes designed to enhance the athletic capabilities of T1’s players and teams based on its sports research facilities and athletic training programmes.

The training programmes will be implemented at training facilities within the T1 Headquarters in Seoul, which is scheduled to open early 2020.

Nike believes this will allow professional eSports players to develop their athletic capabilities, including physical and mental strength, to help them become better gamers

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“We are interested in understanding and learning more about the relationship between improved physical fitness and athleticism as it relates to gaming,” said Brant Hirst, marketing director at Nike Korea.

“These athletes have unique skill sets that we believe we can help improve through tailored training methods.”

According to Statista, eSports has a captive audience in South Korea. A survey conducted in 2019 found that gamers spent around 3.3 hours per week watching other people play video games online on platforms like Twitch or YouTube Gaming.

The surveyed gamers spent another 2.8 hours watching traditional sports on television.

The Drum previously spoke to Lenovo to find out why the brand is adapting its strategy around its ‘Legion of Champions’ and ‘Rise of Legion’ competitions, with the insight that idea of what a ‘gamer’ really is, is evolving.


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Nike, Inc. is an American multinational corporation that is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, and worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services.

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