Today, esports retail and merchandise line We Are Nations announced a partnership with Riot Games’ North American League of Legend Championship Series (NALCS) for the 2019 season. We Are Nations will represent and distribute merchandise through its numerous verticals worldwide. We Are Nations will also serve as the league’s official apparel sponsor.
— lolesports (@lolesports) November 14, 2018
According to the press release, We Are Nations will curate merchandise for all ten LCS teams, through both online and offline means, while also having activations at the arena twice a year. Given the fans’ past grievances over a lack of centralized merchandise, this partnership signals another positive change for Riot’s franchising system going into the future. China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL) currently has a similar system where each team has standardized merch for sale on Taobao, while also having the rights to sell their own curated merchandise.
Riot’s Chris “Chopper” Hopper had this to say about the partnership:
We’re excited to work with We Are Nations to deliver a new line of official game-day jerseys to our fans,” said Chris “Chopper” Hopper, Head of Esports for North America at Riot Games. “NA LCS fans have been asking for more league and team apparel and We Are Nations is the perfect partner to help us deliver high-quality merchandise to them both online and in-person this upcoming season.”
Following Riot’s Championship Kha’Zix esports chroma initiative, this is another change that will aid the franchising system. Riot Games secured sponsors such as Acer, State Farm, and Jersey Mikes, but did little to pander to fan interest during the year. If the recent micro transaction release and merchandising partnership is a sign of anything — 2019 is going to be a year to watch the NA LCS ecosystem develop as it grows into its own.