British sportswear brand JD Sports has reportedly signed a deal with Excel Esports that will see the gaming organisation’s roster of around 3,000 UK-based players don the retailer’s logo.
It will also include exclusive naming rights to Excel’s academy roster, which is to be rebranded to JDXL.
The deal displays the continued interest in esports gaming from the fashion industry, as a way of connecting with the younger generations that dominate the category.
In a report by Sky News, JD’s executive chairman, Peter Cowgill, who has also just sold half his stake in the fashion company, outlined the benefits of the deal. In a statement to the publisher, Cowgill said the deal will enable JD Sports to “embrace casual and competitive e-gaming audiences across some of the biggest gaming titles, whilst also delivering world-first digital and virtual experiences.”
The partnership closely follows Excel’s bid to raise funding to capitalise on the category’s popularity, during which it secured around 17 million pounds in a round led by JRJ Group.
According to Sky’s report, the esports market is now estimated to be worth one billion pounds, boasting a global fan base of around 500 million people.