Why the NFL is making the move to Fortnite
“Fortnite” quickly became a worldwide phenomenon following the launch of its battle royale mode last summer. Not only has it held the crown as the biggest video game ever, with well over 100 million players, but the game is tracking to reach $2 billion in revenue by the end of the year.
That kind of phenomenon transcends video game circles, particularly given the way in which “Fortnite” attracts a wide range of ages and demographics. It has spawned celebrities from those who live-stream the game and drawn in the likes of rapper Drake and Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to those events, which have consistently generated hundreds of thousands of viewers at any given time.
The game has even been viewed as a distraction by professional teams, with the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks reportedly banning it from being played on road trips.
Considering the immense popularity, it wasn’t a surprise to see aspects of the game, such as the character dances, appear on other big stages such as the NFL and various major sports for player celebrations.
Even NFL players who play Fortnite get in on the dances
Now the NFL is taking advantage of those natural ties by partnering with Epic Games for officially licensed skins in the video game. The jerseys of all 32 NFL teams will be available in “Fortnite” beginning Nov. 9.
The outfits, which include the full jerseys and helmets, will be sold through the in-game store using its “V-Bucks” currency. The cost will equate to about $15 per uniform. The jerseys will be customizable as far as the numbers go, with users able to select any number from 1-99. “Fortnite” is a free-to-play game, which makes the cost of items that are purely cosmetic in nature and completely optional a little easier to swallow.
In addition to NFL team outfits, there will be football-themed emotes, harvesting tools, gliders, plus referee and “Fortnite” uniforms.
From a licensing standpoint, it’s a pretty interesting deal. The NFL has granted the license for its uniforms/logos/team names, and the NFL Players Association appears to be involved as well. The latter is important regarding current players, even with no names on the back of the jerseys.
Much like our OAT Madden League founder interview below, we are currently searching for members in OAT to head up the official OAT Fortnite clan. During my trip to the “Cowboys Miami Takeover” I witnessed actual Cowboys players like Jaylon Smith, and brother Rod Smith doing dances from “Fortnite.”
Here is our OAT Madden League founder interview with Terrence Collins while at the NFL Draft in Dallas this last April.
NFLPA onboard with NFL partenership with Fortnite
With the NFLPA on board, current players will be receiving a cut of what’s made. That’s critical given that the ability to choose the jersey numbers without any restriction could have led to legal challenges otherwise. Some players are synonymous with their numbers.
No. 12 for the Patriots or a retired No. 20 for the Lions are widely identified as Tom Brady and Barry Sanders, respectively. It’s unclear whether lawsuits could arise down the line over not being compensated for what may be deemed to be their likenesses.
Over the last decade, it has been shown that simply omitting names does not free the parties in question from potential lawsuits. The troubling action that led to the end of the “NCAA Football” and “NCAA Basketball” franchises and lawsuits over “Madden” filed by retired players are the most high-profile examples of that.
Aside from that concern, this partnership looks to be a win-win for all involved. There is plenty of crossover between NFL fans and “Fortnite” fans, and it should prove to be a big success. It wouldn’t be surprising to see it expand, also.
While players have been borrowing “Fortnite” dances for their own celebrations, maybe we’ll begin to see the exchange go both ways in the future.
Maybe the “Swipe” dance from Jaylon Smith?
Original post by Brian Wiedey here.
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