Pro e-sports team opens retail shop in London


So file this one under “that happened”: A pro-gaming team has opened a pop-up e-sports retail store in London.

The team is Fnatic, and really it’s bigger than one team, as the org runs multiple teams across a bunch of different games; you’ve surely heard of them if you’ve paid even the slightest lick of attention to League of Legends e-sports in the past few years.

The group’s retail startup is a pretty clear indication of how e-sports is entering the mainstream: True, “BUNKR,” the warehousey, graffiti-sprayed, artsy walkup looks hip and indie, but the actual merch, from t-shirts to gaming gear, is encased in high-tech, boutique-style displays with game stations set up for guests to use. It looks pro and expensive, and the staffers running the place are clear that they are modeling the business on professional sports teams, like most everything else in e-sports.

“Okay, we’re not going to be as big as football [soccer], but we can be as big as basketball,” Fnatic’s Erik LondrĂ© told GIbiz. “More people in ten, twenty years will be able to relate to a person playing computer games – it’s already more relatable than somebody playing ice hockey. How many people have ever stood on an ice rink? I’m from Sweden and I’ve only done it four or five times in my life.”

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