Along with nouveau chic champions and real-life clothes, the real world coveted Summoner’s Cup, one of the most acclaimed trophies in esports, will be encased in a Vuitton-designed travel trunk that would feature both “traditional Louis Vuitton savoir-faire along with cutting-edge, high-tech elements” inspired by the one of the most popular games in the world. Just last year, the FIFA World Cup was encased in a LV case and guarded by two burly men. The “high-tech” elements will be revealed closer to the upcoming world championship in November.
“Both sides want to make sure that the collaboration appeals to both of our respective audiences,” said Naz Aletaha, Riot Games’ head of global esports partnerships and business development. “Esports is the next frontier for a lot of brands who have been in the traditional sport space.”
“It presents an unprecedented opportunity to bring our historical commitment to merging innovation and tradition with our spirit of adventure to a new generation,” said Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO in a prepared statement.
The partnership comes ahead of the League of Legends World Championship in Europe, which begins in Berlin on Oct. 2 and ends in Paris with the bespoke case and trophy on Nov. 10.
For several recent years, traditional sports ambassadors and executives have invested heavily into esports. Sports brands like Nike are signing on to produce gear for players, while Fortnite star player Tyler “Ninja” Blevins announced a partnership with Adidas earlier this year.
League of Legends is already celebrated by artists and music stars, so Riot Games felt fashion was the next step to engaging players. The characters in the game are already designed to be ultrachic fashionistas, and last year Riot Games released a hit song with famous k-pop stars and a music video that boasts more than 260 million views on YouTube.
The skins give players the chance to soup up their characters and show off to other players. Fortnite, another free-to-play game, makes millions a month selling skins (different characters and outfits) to players. Epic Games’s partnership last year with the NFL’s partnership falls in a similar vein.
While the concept of spending hard-earned cash for virtual looks seem strange to nongamers, it makes perfect sense for hobbyists. In an elementary sense, they’re like putting stickers on a book cover. Or as Vox’s Rebecca Jennings once wrote of Fortnite skins, “snagging a rare Fortnite skin instead of a Zara bag that everyone already owns actually makes a lot of sense.”
Mike Hume contributed to this report.