Italian sportswear brand Kappa entered esports in August 2019 and their first year in action has been inconsistent at best, according to multiple sources familiar with their activities.
The esports industry has seen a flurry of activity from sportswear brands in the past couple of years, with major companies hurrying into the scene to secure exclusive merchandise and apparel deals with major teams.
Nike with the LPL, T1, SK Gaming, and Vodafone Giants; adidas with Team Vitality, Team Heretics, and FOKUS CLAN; PUMA with Cloud9 and Gen.G. The list goes on.
Kappa — a sportswear brand that sponsors the likes of Italian football league Serie B, Formula 1 team Alfa Romeo Sauber, and Premier League side Aston Villa — are no exception. Since entering esports with British organisation Vexed Gaming in August 2019, they’ve quickly expanded their reach and secured deals with a number of other UK-based teams.
Diabolus, Demise, Audacity Esports, London Esports, and Tundra have all entered partnerships with the Italian company, in which most (if not all) of the agreements are three years in length. Dexerto spoke with people behind the scenes who are familiar with sports company’s operations to see how the collaborations have gone, most of which obliged under the condition of anonymity.
Dexerto learned that following Kappa’s esports entrance with Vexed in August 2019, they hired sports marketing agency Van Hawke Sports to establish additional partnerships and expand their presence in competitive gaming. This resulted in many of the deals starting, at least as serious conversations, in February and March of this year.
However, speculatively because of the global health situation and an apparent emphasis on serving their partners in sports as a priority, the company has allegedly dragged their heels in getting some of the deals off the ground. Despite having come to an agreement in the first quarter of the year in some cases, it’s said that it took a handful of months to get team-branded merchandise and an official announcement lined up.
A home run or disappointing defeat?
On the topic of overall satisfaction with how they have served organizations as their partner, there were mixed reviews. One source stated: “The setbacks on the core part of the partnership have been detrimental, and there has been little to no action from the side of Kappa to remedy.” They explained that the core of the partnership, and the main point of contention, is kit production.
Another source explained that while they’re happy with the appearance of their kit, “communicating with their team around getting jerseys made for staff and players and running discounts with influencers has been very poor. Messages and emails have been ignored for weeks and are very rarely answered.”
They continued: “Our…
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