Olivia R. January 2, 2020
Royal Never Give Up's Dota 2 team has gained a title sponsorship deal with Kappa, an Italian sportswear brand. This is likely the first non-endemic sponsorship deal for an esports team signed in 2020.
The Chinese esports organization revealed the news in a short post on social media site Weibo. In the translated paragraph, RNG explained that their Dota 2 team has been rebranded as Kappa.RNG Dota 2. This new name became effective immediately.
No other details on the partnership, including financial figures or merchandise, were revealed.
This partnership is big news for Royal Never Give Up, although it appears the organization has lost another sponsor in the process.
Royal Never Give Up recently removed Li-Ning from its list of partners. The Chinese apparel brand has been replaced with Kappa, which joins previous sponsors Laoshan Beer, Hongmo, Logitech, and China Citic Bank's credit card service. Though it is unclear what led to the split between Li-Ning and RNG, it is likely that their previous deal ran to its conclusion.
Kappa expands esports positioning with Royal Never Give Up
Kappa is no stranger to the esports industry. The apparel company announced a partnership with Vexed Gaming in August 2019. The partnership consisted of its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team wearing Kappa apparel while competing and relaxing. The competitive and leisure wear was also made available in their official store the following month.
Kappa's sports marketing executive Joe Pilato expressed excitement over the partnership, stating that Vexed Gaming's goal of reaching personal excellence made him "delighted" that the organization was their first entry into the esports industry.
“Kappa is known for its stylish and iconic designs across all the sports it works with and esports is no exception," Vexed Gaming's chief gaming officer Mark Weller said.
Other apparel companies have ventured into the esports industry as well. This includes Cloud9's partnership with Puma and Fortnite superstar Tyler "Ninja" Blevin's partnership with Adidas. Outerstuff also recently designed jerseys and other apparel for Misfits.