Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch League has signed a multi-year deal with memorabilia company Upper Deck to produce trading cards and other licensed collectibles.
The agreement will see trading cards featuring players in the league available through Upper Deck’s digital e-Pack platform, allowing users to buy and open packs, as well as trade cards with fellow fans. Physical versions of digital cards owned by users will also be available to order.
The first Overwatch League cards will be released on 19th June via the e-Pack website, with the 125-card base set focusing on players and teams from 2018’s debut season. Limited edition pre-release promo packs will be given out to attendees of this week’s Overwatch League All-Star Game on 16th May.
As well as trading cards, the agreement also includes stickers, sticker books, print posters and other memorabilia.
Jason Masherah, Upper Deck president, said: “We are very excited to collaborate with the Overwatch League for our first esports deal and to deliver new and innovative products to Overwatch League fans everywhere. This is a great way to celebrate Upper Deck’s 30th anniversary, and we look forward to working with the talented team at Activision Blizzard for many years to come.”
The deal is Upper Deck’s first esports partnership, having traditionally worked with sports leagues such as Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Football League (NFL). It follows trading card brand Panini, which signed a one-year deal with Complexity Gaming in January to produce trading cards and posters for the esports team.
Both companies join a market also including startup firm Epics, which sells digital trading cards based on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and has licensing partnerships with more than 20 teams.
The Overwatch League already has partnerships with the likes of Coca-Cola, Intel, T-Mobile and Toyota.
Now in its second season, the league features 20 teams competing for US$5 million in prizes. The city-based competition’s grand finals this year will be held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on 29th September.