On September 28th Nike unveiled its new esports commercial on Chinese social media.
The commercial features a former League of Legends Pro League (LPL) player, Jian “Uzi” Zihao, and LPL host, Duan “Candice” Yushuang. It is full of memes originating from the Chinese League of Legends scene.
The minute and a half long commercial is bursting with calls for the importance of physical exercise and good diet for esports, even the title in Chinese, “A greater ambition relies on a stronger body”, highlights that importance.
This is a part of Nike’s four-year sponsorship deal with the LPL that began in 2019. In 2019 they partnered with the LPL to become the official apparel and footwear partner of the league. They are providing exclusive clothes and shoes for the players, coaches, and staff. Not only are they providing apparel, they are also making available physical training and rehabilitation plans for the players.
The new efforts to support the physical wellbeing of the players comes after a Nike released documentary about the esport raised awareness about the injuries that competitors may face when playing esports competitively.
Uzi, featured in the commercial, retired from esports in June of this year. In his announcement on the Chinese social media site Weibo he cited concerns about his chronic stress, obesity, irregular diet and issues with his right shoulder. It makes sense that one of the most popular LoL players in China would take part in this sort of commercial that promotes a healthier lifestyle for esports competitors.
This is part of a major trend in recent years, major brands and personalities have been partnering with esport teams, leagues, and brands. In fact, in 2018, Uzi was the first individual player to sign a deal with a major sportswear brand and appeared alongside Lebron James in the Shut Up and Dribble docuseries.
Other brands have gotten a piece of the action as well. In 2018 Adidas partnered with the Danish esports organisation North. It’s not just apparel brands that have gotten in on the action. In 2019 alone; Cloud9 partnered with BMW, Team Liquid signed a deal with Honda, FaZe clan was sponsored by Nissan, and the LEC partnered with KIA Motors.
As esports has grown, so has its credibility. More and more major companies are realising that it is a viable industry and they are taking a serious role in advertising and promoting its growth.
Featured Image Credits: NikeBasketball Weibo