American sportswear giant Nike has broadened its traditional sponsorship scope by signing its first ever endorsement deal with an esports athlete.
Chinese League of Legends player and recent gold medalist at the Asian Games in Jakarta, Jian ‘Uzi’ Zihao, will become the Nike’s first ambassador.
Zihao will star alongside NBA superstar LeBron James to promote Chinese actor Bai Jingting’s ‘Dribble &’ marketing campaign to support his upcoming ‘Shut up and dribble’ Showtime series.
The new partnership has Zihao wearing a black t-shirt adorned with the text ‘Dribble & Carry’ – carry refers to a single player in League of Legends who is responsible for the team winning.
Chinese state television broadcaster CCTV record a documentary Zihao’s esports career before winning his Gold medal at the Asian Games.
This represents the 21 year-olds first individual signing, as his team, Royal Never Give Up (RNG), has signed a number of non-endemic commercial deals in recent times, partnering with both German car giant Mercedes and fast food chain KFC.