Puma Signs Extended Sponsorship Deal With Esports' Cloud9
Puma has signed an expanded sponsorship with esports organization Cloud9, locking in a multiyear deal to develop a full apparel collection and claim the apparel/footwear category for the entire organization except its Overwatch League franchise. Terms were not disclosed, but the parties said it is an “eight-figure” deal. The prior Puma-Cloud9 deal, announced in January, only covered the League Championship Series League of Legends team for the spring season. Cloud9 lifestyle apparel will be available by September on Puma and Cloud9’s websites to start, as well as in Puma's flagship N.Y. store. Puma Team Head of Digital Marketing & Gaming Matt Shaw said the goal is to have the Cloud9 line across Puma’s global retail channels by early summer '20. “This is a big step in a new direction and one we’re really excited to take,” Shaw said. Puma also will be developing custom products for Cloud9 team members to be worn “off stream and on stream,” Shaw said. The deal is limited by Riot Games’ league-level apparel deal with We Are Nations, which produces and sells LCS jerseys that include a Puma logo, and by the OWL's league-level apparel deal with Fanatics, which blocks Cloud9’s London Spitfire team brand from Puma. The Puma logo also appears on a generic Cloud9 jersey. Under this deal, Puma will make all Cloud9 kits other than LCS. Cloud9 is counting on Puma’s retail presence and brand to help the gaming brand cross over into the mainstream, said Exec VP/Commercial Partnerships Jordan Udko. Shaw said esports helps Puma relate to a younger demographic. “It’s like basketball when we were first entering,” Shaw said. “While we will definitely sell basketball shoes, what we’re trying to do is be culturally relevant. This is very much in the same vein."