Ninja and Adidas to partner as sports brands invest in gaming

By Quentyn Kennemer


Aug 28, 2019

Reading time: 2 min

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins has announced a new partnership with sports apparel brand Adidas. Neither party has disclosed the financial details of the agreement.

Ninja teased the announcement on August 26 with a video using Adidas preferred typeface. Samsung uses a similar font, and with the teaser involving a jumbled mess of mobile phone footage as its cornerstone effect. Given that Samsung already has a history of working with Ninja, many figured the South Korean electronics giant was involved.

But it turns out that the tease was all about Adidas, and with the marriage to gaming’s biggest personality comes the sale of a new branded hoodie featuring Ninja’s name, plus the usual advertising benefits and other unannounced goods and initiatives already in the works.

The campaign’s title is “Time In,” as in the time one must put in to become great, whether that’s in gaming, sports, or anything else that one sets out to accomplish.

“The work it takes to be ready for your moment is put in before that moment appears,” Ninja remarks in an inspirational trailer for the campaign.

Ninja aims his message at “creators,” a demographic that potentially extends across many boundaries.

Adidas joins a growing list of major sports apparel brands who are finding esports to be a natural next step. Nike has dipped its toe by being the jersey supplier for China’s League of Legends scene, and fans will see their presence on the global stage for the first time at the 2019 League of Legends World Championship in Paris, France.

Champion and K-Swiss have also dabbled in small-scale deals with teams and players. Puma has become an official partner of Cloud9.

Fortnite star Ninja pushes esports boundaries

No one player has benefited more from esports’ rise than Ninja, who once revealed that he makes about $1 million per month from various sources of revenue. His biggest deal to date has been with Red Bull, who now push the bright-haired personality as the face of its gaming campaigns as part of a multi-year commitment.

Ninja continues to break the ceiling for what a professional gamer can be. Cementing his celebrity status, he has regular appearances at big events and on prime time television, bumping elbows with popular musicians and athletes, and has been the top choice to promote new high-profile games like Apex Legends.

Youngsters look up to Ninja’s success as something to aspire to, potentially leading a whole new generation of gamers and, one would hope, their parents, to treat the hobby as more than just a silly time sink. It’s a trend that has shifted the visibility and earnings potential of esports to previously unimaginable heights.