August 28, 2023
It might sound like a bad idea to send only three people to rep Kizik at a huge convention (and we do mean HUGE). But that’s what we did.
Kizik was chosen over much larger brands to be the official shoe sponsor of Evo. Once that was in place, Kizik marketing team members Lane Russell, Roo Lumsden, and Conner Ward took a road trip to Vegas with 200 pairs of custom Evo-branded Athens in tow—shoes that would become the hot item of the weekend.
Evo, the largest Fighting Game Community (FGC) esports event in the world took place in Las Vegas the first weekend of August. This year, roughly 50,000 in-person attendees showed up and 4 million plugged in to watch 7,000 competitors fight it out for top spots.
Esports competitions are as well-attended and as high-energy as any other sporting event, filling huge arenas and capturing massive at-home audiences. The events come complete with commentators who broadcast from a typical sports desk, guiding spectators through the nuances of the face-offs.
Evo-goers spent the first two days taking it all in: gaming in the largest arcade area ever in one place, an art corner, lounge areas, and sneak peeks at soon-to-be-released games, and of course, preliminary competitions. People waited two hours in line to play just a few minutes of Tekken 8, Mortal Combat 1, and Riot Games’ upcoming Project L. It all culminated on day three with the best of the best playing finals in a packed arena.
And that’s where our scrappy team of three showed up, sure to get swallowed in the crowd. But that’s not what happened.
Instead, they made waves.
Evo staff, commentators, and talent were outfitted in the one-of-a-kind Kiziks. More than 5,000 entered our giveaway raffle to win a pair. Other attendees went straight for the purchase, and the shoes went fast.
Kizik staff had plenty of chances to show what made these shoes special. Highlights included photo-ops with Ed Boon, creator of Mortal Kombat (he even tweeted about the Evo shoes and joked with us later that he should have said they were Sub-Zero shoes); Pokimane, the number-one female streamer on Twitch, former Evo champ HungryBox, and pro fighting gamer Justin Wong.
King of Fighters (KOF) XV finalist Wero Asimaya—so well-known that the crowd chanted his name as he took the stage—wore his Kizik x Evo shoes as he competed.
By far, the Kizik team’s fav photo ops had to be with the crowds of event-goers who simply loved Kizik. They loved meeting Vitor, who had saved for three years to fly in from Brazil for the event, wanted the shoes so much that he sold his ticket to the championship just so he could buy a pair. (Don’t worry; when our three amigos found that out, they quickly found a way to get him a replacement ticket.)
By the end of the event, people were stopping our Kizik reps in the crowd to ask about the shoes. It was clearly no longer a question of why we sent such a small team to such a large event. They nailed it. The question became: Why did we wait so long to do it?