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eSports iQ #131 - 03/25/2020
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ISSUE #131
Premium insight into the esports industry
Winning Esports Merchandise

“If you create a good product and a unique product, they will buy it. It just has to be something different. It has to be high quality."  

-- Rocky Savio, Chief merchandising officer for the Atlanta FaZe via ESPN 

The convergence of fashion and esports is gaining steam. With non-endemic brand partnerships, ranging from high fashion (Louis Vuitton) to athletic wear (Champion), serving notice that the momentum is real.  

As a result, the business of esports merchandise is positioned to grow in 2020 and beyond. However, effective commercialization depends on understanding the following about competitive video game audiences: 

  • Key influencers  

  • Purchase motivators  

  • Consumer values

Towards that end, let’s take a data-driven look at three esports merchandise best practices.  

Note: Esports merchandise shoppers refers to fans who bought or expressed interest in buying competitive gaming related merchandise within the last calendar year. 

FaZe Clan Crossover

Approach: FaZe Clan’s exclusive collections with popular non-esports influencers – rapper Kiari Kendrell Cephus (Offset) of the hip-hop trio Migos and content creator Austin "Pamaj" Pamajewon. 

Reality:  Among esports merchandise shoppers, the top 10 social influencers have zero official affiliation with professional esports. The same holds for 8 of the top 10 social influencers within FaZe Clan’s audience.

Results: Influencer marketing reaches beyond core (niche) esports audiences. Plus, 82% of FaZe Clan fans are very likely to prefer quality when buying clothes – meaning they are ideal consumers for exclusive merchandise drops. 

Puma and Cloud9

Approach: Unique Puma/Cloud9 merchandise lines, styled for male and female fans. 

Reality: Only 17% of female esports fans are very likely to be influenced by brand name when making purchases. 

Results: Individual product lines build brand equity within specific audience segments. They also meet gender-specific consumer needs. For example, 83% of female esports fans are very likely to prefer style when buying clothes vs. 73% among esports merchandise shoppers. 

NYXL Gear

Approach: NYXL, New York’s Overwatch League (OWL) team, offering 30+ team t-shirts. 

Reality: 68% of OWL fans are very likely to prefer comfort when buying clothes vs. 50% of esports merchandise shoppers.  

Results: AndBox, NYXL’s parent company, is focused on merging local (city) and global (digital) culture into a recognizable team brand. T-shirts, a universal fashion staple, are an ideal cross-culture vehicle, which also align with OWL fans’ demand for comfortable wear. 

Sources

All non-attributed insights are generated by eSports iQ and based on the social data (English speaking) of: 

  • 5,000+ esports merchandise shoppers 

  • 10,000+ Faze Clan fans 

  • 3,000+ female esports fans 

  • 10,000+ Overwatch League fans 

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