Sports collectible company Panini is making its first entry into the esports market with Complexity Gaming on a partnership that will include both physical and digital elements. Panini will create traditional trading cards for esports athletes, and the two companies will create content to stream on the Complexity managed Twitch channel that will launch on Thursday, Jan. 17.
Complexity Gaming is co-owned by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and led by cofounder and CEO, Jason Lake. The esports group fields teams in a wide field of titles, ranging from Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to Fortnite and Madden. Complexity’s headquarters are at The Star in Frisco, Texas, which also houses the Cowboys’ practice facility. It recently became the first esports team to sign a casino partnership.
“By teaming up with one of the most reputable traditional sports brands, Complexity Gaming and Panini are furthering the intersection of esports and traditional sports through new product innovation and content,” said Daniel Herz, Complexity Gaming’s chief revenue officer, in a statement. “With the traditional sports world’s growing interest in video games and Panini’s roster of talented professional athletes and teams, this partnership creates more opportunity for integration across gaming, football, basketball, and more.”
Panini is the exclusive supplier of NBA and NFL trading cards, and the Italian company will bring the traditional sports and esports athletes together for Twitch streaming and real-world events.
“The esports audience shares similar demographics and interests as traditional trading card fans, so being able to engage those fans in new ways and where they are spending their time is important. It’s also a way to engage a younger audience and introduce them to our Panini trading card products,” said Jason Howarth, VP of marketing for Panini America, in a statement. “Partnering with Complexity, an organization that shares a similar vision to creating compelling content, reaching new audiences and leveraging the crossover appeal of gaming with traditional athletes is why we are really excited about this partnership.”
This symbiotic partnership will see Complexity introduce Panini to an esports audience while Panini can leverage its existing infrastructure to help Complexity reach a more traditional sports fanbase. Esports collectibles are not a new genre—last January Epics.gg raised a $2 million seed round to create digital cards for gamers—but a legacy brand like Panini should help boost the market.
Read more: sporttechie.com