EXCLUSIVE:

It’s one thing to be great at games. It’s another to look good while doing it. To accomplish both, Versus Sports — the largest professional Madden team — is working with fashion brand ULT on a new line of apparel that captures the squad’s look and feel.

ULT is working to establish itself as the go-to brand for esports fashion products in the same way that people associate Nike, Adidas, or Reebok with traditional athletic sports. So ULT is expanding its partnerships from EUnited — an Overwatch, Call of Duty, and League of Legends team — to also include Versus Sports. This collaboration between Ult and Versus features an Elite Jersey, a long-sleeve T-shirt jersey, and two baseball caps. But ULT isn’t just selling shirts and hats — it is selling the swagger of the Versus Sports competitors. That’s a strategy that more companies in the $696 million esports market are likely going to employ, and Versus wants to lead the way.

“Currently every esports team jersey looks exactly the same with no reflection of key aspects of the this genre: sport, fashion, and athletics,” Versus Sports founder and chief executive Manny Anekal said. “Many brands also miss the mark on telling the story and lifestyle of these gaming professionals. With ULT, Versus Sports found the perfect partner that recognized the team’s brand vision and our cultural ethos.”

For Versus, this gives the team a unified look that fans can buy into. For ULT, this expands their presence not just into another team but also into a new game in Madden.

“The evolution of the ULT brand into the traditional sports space is something we are very excited by,” ULT brand lead designer Nate Eckman said. “Challenging cultural ideas of athleticism, sport, and fashion for this community is something we at ULT are deeply inspired to do. Being able to partner with Versus Sports and collaborate with Manny Anekal on product ideas and content strategy is a total thrill.”

Anekal says the partnership is ideal not because it gives Versus some extra products to generate revenue. Instead, it gives Versus a new way to express itself.

“I wanted to build apparel that was fashion forward and innovative not just in design; but being able to build upon ULT’s content strategy and platform,” said Anekal.

Going forward, you can expect to see brands like Versus making more partnerships like this, and you can also expect Versus Sports players to show up to every match decked out in their ULT gear.

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