What Happened: It’s the gaming crossover of the year: Tiffany & Co. has inked a multiyear global partnership with Riot Games’ League of Legends Esports. The New York-based luxury jeweler will be the official trophy designer of the 2022 League of Legends World Championship as the month-long esports competition makes its return to North America. The Summoner’s Cup, a 44-pound sterling silver creation, will be unveiled online on August 29 and awarded to the winning team in San Francisco on November 5.
According to Tiffany’s Alexandre Arnault, Executive Vice President, Product and Communication, “creating the Summoner’s Cup is another important moment for Tiffany in the world of esports and an exciting new chapter in our 160-year legacy handcrafting sports trophies.”
The Jing Take: Tiffany is far from the first luxury player to partner with the game. In 2019, LVMH stablemate Louis Vuitton created a monogrammed travel trunk with LED screens for the Summoner’s Cup, fusing traditional savoir-faire details with high-tech elements. On top of this, Louis Vuitton designed prestige skins for fan-favorite characters — becoming the first luxury house to produce custom esports skins — as well as a physical collection of themed apparel, footwear, and accessories. Other brands that have teamed up with League include luxury motorcycle manufacturer Ducati, AAPE, and Fenty.
With a market of over 700 million players in China alone, the appeal of gaming crossovers is obvious. In particular, League of Legends remains one of the world’s most popular PC games and the cornerstone of Chinese owner Tencent’s gaming portfolio with roughly 180 million players, boasting its own virtual K-pop group K/DA and Netflix show. Naturally, its esports competitions also pull a lot of eyeballs; last year’s finals attracted a record 73 million peak concurrent viewers, up 60 percent over 2020, and saw Chinese team Edward Gaming take home the title.
Tiffany’s new partnership with League of Legends therefore not only puts it on the global stage in a new format but marks the next step in its brand evolution, after its foray into NFTs. Whether the jeweler follows in Louis Vuitton’s footsteps and creates skins, dresses virtual idols, partners with esports influencers, or does something different entirely, the tie-up could help it take its gaming and metaverse ambitions to the next level. It represents a new avenue by which to reach the mainland’s extensive gaming community, who have proven to be willing to spend on their favorite titles.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.