The era of awful Overwatch League merchandise is over. Blizzard has finally allowed organizations to independently source and produce their clothing.
For years the Overwatch League has been in a contract with Fanatics, an online clothing company that does merchandise for sports teams at all levels. Initially, this news was exciting as a lot of esports teams have rare or limited merchandise options available. Unfortunately for fans, the gear was haphazardly put together, expensive, and had the same durability as a piece of paper in the middle of the ocean. The multi-year deal ran for the 2019 and 2020 seasons of the Overwatch League. Now that it has expired, teams are free to do as they please when it comes to apparel.
Out with the old, in with the new…
SF Shock x Meta Threads 2021
— San Francisco Shock (@SFShock) February 1, 2021
Already we have seen the San Francisco Shock team up with Meta Threads to release a new lineup of gear. The Florida Mayhem have begun sourcing merchandise ideas from their community, and overall fans are excited to get quality and diverse team clothing options. The Overwatch League has not announced if they will still be working with Fanatics to produce official player jerseys. The likely choice would be to find a company with an untarnished reputation. Then, begin offering official gear while organizations offer “lifestyle gaming apparel”.
Previously the Overwatch League and a couple of teams collaborated with ULT Esports to develop exclusive merchandise. But it was still restricted. There was also a partnership with Jeff Staples to design the 2020 Overwatch League jerseys. But again, Fanatic was still in charge of production and sales at the end of the day. The Overwatch League kicks off once again in April with a similar tournament format to last year with a few minor adjustments.