Esports' Growing Popularity Could Translate To Lucrative Style Business
Former esports athlete Matt "Nadeshot" Haag has used his "celebrity status in the gaming world" to create 100 Thieves, an esports organization that also "makes apparel for competitive gamers" and fans, according to Luke Winkie of the N.Y. TIMES. Haag has over 1 million followers on Instagram, and "routinely uses the platform to model the latest in 100 Thieves merchandise." Haag said, "As soon as the players started elevating their wardrobe, that's when all the fans started doing it too." Since the company's founding in '17, 100 Thieves has "attracted high-profile investors" like Drake and entertainment mogul Scooter Braun. Esports organizations have "outfitted players with custom jerseys" since the early '00s, but the "influx of apparel brands treating those players as they would athletic stars is tied to how lucrative the pro gaming industry has become." Not unlike the NBA's "style renaissance," some are betting that style in gaming will "become just as much of a phenomenon." OWL N.Y. Excelsior VP/Consumer Products & Merchandising Collette Gangemi said that she believes the "roots of esports style run a bit deeper, toward another movement orchestrated by young, talented outsiders." Gangemi said that the "best parallel" is late-'90s, mid-'00s skateboarding, when skateboarders "started making seven-figure salaries, and started buying into the car culture, the jewelry culture and the apparel culture." She said, "They created some of the biggest brands in the world" (NYTIMES.com, 4/24).
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