Fnatic fans got a good look at the new “Fnatic X Hello Kitty” crossover merchandise during the team’s matches at the Counter-Strike:Global Offensive ECS Season 8 Finals.
For the first time, Fnatic’s CSGO team showed off their limited edition Hello Kitty-branded jerseys during their match on November 28 against MIBR. Sporting the beloved Hello Kitty character, the Fnatic jerseys drew even more attention to a team that has returned to form in recent months.
The Hello Kitty brand is no stranger to unconventional partnerships, and Fnatic is just one more in a long line of nonendemic brands to feature the iconic Hello Kitty character. The actual character of Hello Kitty, known as Kitty White, spans over 50,000 individual product lines.
In addition to highlighting the unlikely partnership, the jerseys also served to tease the release of the “Fnatic X Hello Kitty” Drop 2 on December 9. Fnatic revealed the date of the second merchandise drop in a November 27 tweet.
According to the November press release from Hello Kitty owner Sanrio, the crossover collection celebrates milestones for both the iconic cat and one of the most recognized brands in esports. November 2019 marks both Hello Kitty’s 45th and Fnatic’s 15th founding anniversaries.
The crossover features more than just jerseys, hoodies and other outwear, however. In a first for the global Japanese icon, Hello Kitty has been emblazoned across headsets, mousepads, and other gaming peripherals including custom Cherry MX keycaps.
The organizations announced the partnership on November 15 and simultaneously made Drop 1 of the “Fnatic X Hello Kitty” collection available on Fnatic’s webstore. The original release specifically mentioned “subsequent drops,” hinting that fans will see at least three different sets of crossover gear for purchase before the end of 2019.
The Hello Kitty brand has expanded dramatically in popularity since its creation by Japanese artist Yuko Shimizu in 1974. According to a report by ScreenRant, Hello Kitty is the second highest-grossing character of all time, second only to the total revenue of the Pokemon franchise. The Kitty White character is a integral part of kawaii pop culture and is estimated to have brought in over $80 billion in revenue since its inception.
On the other end of the spectrum, Fnatic is an esport juggernaut. Originally founded by Sam Mathews and Anne Mathews in July 2004, the organization currently fields teams in a variety of games. Most identify the brand with the organization’s teams in two games in particular: League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
The organization’s League of Legends team is world famous, having remained consistently competitive for years. Fnatic won the first ever League of Legends seasonal championship in 2011 and has since stockpiled seven of the thirteen total LEC split titles since Riot Games introduced the tournament circuit to the European region.
Fnatic’s success hasn’t been limited to League of Legends, either. The organization’s CSGO roster captured the first ever CSGO Major, the 2013 DreamHack Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Championship. The team managed another two Major titles in the following years while retaining the same core players, all while amassing over $14.5 million in winnings across the organization’s combined time in Counter-Strike 1.6 and CSGO.
Fnatic took their new partner’s happy-go-lucky nature to heart in their first matches of the ECS Season 8 Finals. Decked out in Hello Kitty jerseys, Fnatic cruised to a 16-9 win over MIBR on Inferno in the team’s opening best-of-one. Kitty White was less help in the Group B Winner’s Match, where Fnatic dropped the best-of-three to Astralis 0-2.
Kitty White still had their back in Arlington, though.
On November 29, Fnatic eliminated MIBR from the ECS Season 8 Finals and booked themselves a semifinal spot with the most thrilling best-of-three the Season 8 Finals had seen yet. The Hello Kitty-backed Sweedes now join Team Liquid, Astralis and Evil Geniuses in the ECS S8 semifinals starting tomorrow, November 30.
Fnatic will play Team Liquid for a grand finals berth tomorrow, November 30, at 4 PM EST.