The NFL and Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, have announced a collaboration that’ll mean you’ll be able to purchase skins for each of the 32 NFL teams, and have your avatar wear them in the game.
From 9 November, gamers can spend their V-Bucks to kit out their characters with up to eight official NFL kits from the Battle Royale shop. Before you head to purchase your new kit, remember people, this will actually cost you real-world money.
People will be able to pick shirt numbers from 1-99, but unfortunately won’t be able to stick their favourite player’s name to the back of their jerseys, which is a shame for fans of Green Bay’s Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Washington’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
This move doesn’t seem that surprising given the relationship the game and sport stars seem to have. NFL stars have been putting their knowledge of the game on display with emotes from the game a regular occurrence in the NFL end zone to celebrate touchdowns.
Announcing the deal, Brian Rolapp, chief media and business officer for the NFL, said: “We see the popularity of Fortnite every day at the NFL as many of our players are passionate about the game.”
The NFL already has one huge gaming franchise, with EA Sports’ Madden very much North America’s version of the Fifa series in terms of popularity and influence, but this reach into a non-sporting title is a big move as the league tries to build its popularity with younger fans.
This of course isn’t the first time real-life sport has crossed over into gaming. Leicester City’s Christian Fuchs has even gone so far as to start his own esports academy which will focus on Fifa.
And there have been other instances where athletes have shown their love for gaming in inventive ways.
And let’s not forget that back in the ’90s there was the classic Michael Jordan Chaos in the Windy City game. It was all a bit weird. There was a tenuous link to basketball, in that the aim of the game was to rescue his team-mates and he fought off enemies with basketballs that had a range of special powers. But it was quite obviously a platform game which, at its heart, didn’t have anything to do with the sport.
As for the latest gaming-sports marriage (NFL and Fortnite) this probably won’t be the last move of this kind, and who knows which sporting bodies will look to follow suit?