Fnatic have said that esports brands like theirs will become as big as huge sports brands such as Arsenal.
Fnatic is of course one of the biggest names in esports, and has also been successful in the merchandise and apparel space.
But how big can esports brands get in this area? Brands like Ferrari, Manchester United and Arsenal are well-established and produce hundreds if not thousands of branded products for fans to buy.
With London’s Brand Licensing Europe 2017 around the corner, which brings brand owners together with licensees to strike product licensing deals, we asked Fnatic if esports brands like theirs can get as big as traditional sports brands like Arsenal.
Benoit Pagotto, Fnatic esports head of marketing, told Esports News UK at a recent Esports Insider Forum at the Fnatic Bunkr: “I think we’ll get there, my belief and the belief of Fnatic is that we are the future of sports.
“Yes it will happen. It’s very hard though. We’ve seen this problem for a while – some people license their brand, making horrible stuff and ruin their brand.
“We have to be super careful because we don’t want to dilute our brand. But a lot of esports brands will become – if they work hard – as big as a brand like Arsenal.”
Benoit Pagotto, Fnatic
“We have to be super careful because we don’t want to dilute our brand and get horrible products that make people think our brand is sh*t, because it’s made from cheap plastic material or whatever.
“So I’m not keen for that. But I guess one day [growing the brand further in the licensing space] will happen, a lot of esports brands will become – if they work hard – as big as a brand like Arsenal and other football clubs.
“Arsenal is a bit like Ferrari – it’s a big brand. Ferrari have all kinds of merchandise too, even espresso cups…
“For us, from a merch perspective we already do small types of items like this, but I think if we go into the licensing business we need to be careful with what we make, because it can kill your brand.”
Excel Esports co-founder Kieran Holmes-Darby added: “It’s kind of community-driven really. If it relates to the fanbase and you do it, so mouse mats and snap backs – they’re obvious additions to the esports apparel range.
“But there does come a point where you can dilute the brand and make the brand ridiculous.
“Ties I’m all for, especially League of Legends – you see the coach go up there with a nice branded tie, that’d be fantastic!”
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League of Legends and World of Warcraft player, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association and runs ENUK in his spare time.