Calling all gamers: Gucci wants you


SOURCE: VOGUEBUSINESS.COM
MAY 22, 2022

Gucci is ramping up its gaming and esports focus with the launch today of Gucci Gaming Academy to back emerging esports talent developing professional careers.

Gucci has selected four high-performing players initially, all from Eastern Europe – Poland’s Brajan “DGL” Lemecha and Lukasz “mwlky” Pachucki, Lithuania’s Rokas “EspiranTo” Milasauskas and Latvia’s M?rti?š “shadiyy” G?tmani – , with plans to support more. All four play in the Faceit Pro League (FPL), the top league for multi-player game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). The four CS:GO players were unveiled on the last day of PGL Major Antwerp 2022, a key esports event taking place in Belgium.

As luxury brands develop their metaverse strategies, games and gaming platforms offer rich potential for the development of digital fashion and community engagement. Esports players and their fans represent a promising crossover audience with metaverse and Web3 early adopters.

Support for the Academy players includes mental health coaching in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, personally designed digital training, in-game performance coaching, and personal branding and contract education. They will also be provided technical equipment.

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Gucci Gaming Academy's first students.

Photo: Gucci/Faceit

BY MALIHA SHOAIB

Gucci’s new venture further strengthens its links with the esports community. Top players, such as Faker and n0tail, enjoy celebrity status with a wide following. The esports market is forecast to be worth $1.9 billion within the next five years, according to research firm Valuates. Its global audience is expected to reach almost 519 million people in 2024, according to the Consumer Technology Association.

Several luxury brands are taking note of the potential of esports. In 2019, Louis Vuitton partnered with League of Legends on a digital capsule collection and a trophy case. In 2021, Ralph Lauren signed a deal to outfit esports gaming team G2 Esports. This year, Rebecca Minkoff has partnered with Roblox’s High Heel Obby on an esports event. Other brands that have dressed players or otherwise partnered with esports include Nike, Armani and Adidas.

An early supporter of the gaming sector, Gucci has previously partnered with esports brand Fnatic and gaming organisation 100 Thieves. The brand has appeared in games including Zepeto, The Sims and Animal Crossing, and launched its own Gucci Arcade in 2019.

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Gucci Gaming Academy coach Neil Murphy and ambassadors Stephanie Harvey, James Bardolph and Christopher Alesund.

Photo: Gucci/Faceit

The Academy has chosen three ambassadors to mentor players: James “JZFB” Bardolph, a professional CS:GO commentator; Christopher "GeT_RiGhT" Alesund, a CS:GO veteran; and Stephanie "missharvey" Harvey, a video game developer and retired professional gamer who paved the way for women in esports.

“It’s important that new talent entering the space are equipped with the right support from structure at an early stage in their development,” said Faceit co-founder and CBO Michele Attisani. “Supporting and empowering young esports talent is at the core of Faceit’s values and through our shared vision with Gucci, we hope the Academy helps equip the role models of tomorrow.”

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