Fortnite kicks off its largest sports partnership with 23 global soccer clubs
Fortnite is kicking off its largest sports partnership to-date with the world of soccer, or “football” as the sport is known as for the most part around the globe.
The Epic Games-owned battle royale game, with more than 350 million players worldwide, is partnering with 23 soccer clubs from across the globe and former Brazilian soccer star Pelé to bring the sport to Fortnite players with skins, emotes and a way to play soccer within the Fortnite world.
Starting on January 23, Fortnite players will have access to 10 different outfit variants that can be swapped to represent any of the 23 participating soccer clubs. The clubs span across five continents, from AC Milan in Italy and Melbourne City in Australia to Manchester City in England and Los Angeles FC in the US. Club partnerships were facilitated by Fortnite’s licensing representative IMG.
The soccer clubs will also host their own Fortnite tournaments with custom jerseys and rewards. Players can also visit Fortnite’s soccer-themed island in its Creative Hub to play others in a game of four-on-four soccer.
In addition, players can earn or purchase two new soccer emotes for their players, including one “Air Punch” emote inspired by Pelé, the forward who was labeled “the greatest” by FIFA. The International Federation of Football History and Statistics found that Pelé was the most successful top division scorer with 541 goals in 560 games, and his total of 1,279 goals in 1,363 games became a Guinness World Record.
An Epic Games spokesperson says the announcement marks Fortnite’s largest sports-related partnership so far and a giant leap into the world of soccer. The sport is by far the most popular in the world with an estimated following of 4 billion fans, according to the WorldAtlas. Fortnite previously dipped its toes in the arena by introducing skins inspired by the FIFA World Cup. The other notable sports relationship Fortnite has is with the National Football League for team outfits players can wear in-game.
"Football is consistently one of the top sports that our players tell us they want to see and experience in Fortnite,” says Nate Nanzer, head of global partnerships at Epic Games. “We are excited to partner with IMG to bring the sport to Fortnite fans around the world as they face off in competitive tournaments, experience new creative modes of gameplay, and celebrate global football.”
Fortnite is kicking off the soccer push tomorrow with a competition called the “The Pelé Cup” where top players can win the Pelé “Air Punch” emote, one of the new outfits and a signed shirt from the soccer star himself.
Fortnite is promoting the competition across social media and with a video on digital platforms featuring the voice of the now 80-year-old Pelé describing how his “Air Punch” was an “explosion of joy.”
“Introducing Pelé to millions of young gamers on their terms provides an entirely new platform to grow his legacy,” says Craig Howe, CEO of Rebel Ventures, which represents the star. “We’re excited to see Pelé seamlessly integrated into the Fortnite universe, and continue to build on his incredible life and football journey.”