Rebekah D. February 17, 2019
Fans of Overwatch League team Atlanta Reign were left disappointed this month after buying merchandise from the newly opened Fanatics store.
The jersey were hard to read if players had purchased named variants of the design in support of particular players. This was due to the coloring of text not matching that of the official uniform.
The multi-year deal with Fanatics was first announced in December 2018 and seemed to bring the Overwatch League one step closer to mainstream sports. Though this was the first esports partnership for Fanatics, the company currently manages ecommerce and merchandise for major sporting leagues including the NFL.
Given the company’s previous experience with sporting merchandise, many fans expected their new jerseys to be high quality and ordered quickly when the store opened on January 31.
However, those that ordered the home variants of the Atlanta Reign jerseys with player names on the back were greeted with disappointment. Instead of the white name and red numbers that the players have on their official uniforms, the shirts sent to fans had black text for both. This was particularly difficult to read as the main color for the home shirts is also black.
As discontent rose within the Overwatch community, many expected a statement to be issued from the apparel company offering an apology, but none came. Instead, the home jerseys were simply removed from the online store. New jerseys silently appeared on the store a few hours later that featured white coloring instead of black. The red numbers featured on the back of the official uniforms were still missing.
Fanatics is yet to make a formal apology to fans, though made a Reddit post on February 15 did update fans on some concerns. The first issue addressed was that a European store would be available in May, and a mention of the updated shirts followed soon after. Fanatics also stated that as replica jerseys, fans should expect a differences in the colors of the text, even if the material colors are a perfect match.
Overwatch League officials have not addressed the issue.