Reigning League of Legends world champions DAMWON Gaming have announced their team will be rebranding to “DWG KIA” heading into LCK 2021, as part of a new sponsorship deal with automobile manufacturer Kia Motors.
The Damwon Gaming rebrand, first reported by Ashley Kang on Dec. 21, also includes a “refresh” on the team’s competitive logo. The organization has yet to unveil the new branding.
Damwon has yet to confirm the length of the KIA Motors deal.
The org did, however, comment that the esports sponsorship was an ‘exciting’ moment for the LoL world champs heading into the LCK’s franchised era.
“After a long consideration process, we are glad [DWG] has come to an agreement,” the org said. “The fact our new sponsorship partner already has a track record of reaching out to international fans… should fill DWG fans with excitement.”
KIA’s newly-announced partnership with the Korean heavyweights isn’t the first time they’ve dipped their toes into the competitive League of Legends scene either.
The automobile manufacturer is already midway through a multi-year sponsorship deal with Europe’s top-flight competition, the European Championship (LEC). The league sponsorship first began in 2019, and was extended again in early 2020.
The deal with DWG also marks the second time the manufacturer has partnered with an individual org. North American organization Rogue inked a year-long deal with KIA in April 2020, before marching on to a surprise top-spot finish in LEC 2020 Summer.
KIA has yet to confirm extensions for those brand deals, though Dexerto expects the manufacturer will remain with the European Championship heading into 2021.
Damwon’s sponsorship shift to DWG KIA marks the fourth LCK team’s name swap heading into the first year of franchising in Korea, and the fifth overall rebrand.
Afreeca Freecs underwent a minor logo rebrand ahead of the new season.
Sandbox Gaming has switched to “Liiv Sandbox,” hyFresh Blade is now “Fredit BRION,” and Team Dynamics has moved their branding to “Nongshim RedForce” as part of a 2020 deal with South Korean food export giants Nongshim.
- Read More: Flash Wolves announce LoL comeback
Riot Games has not yet announced when the LCK 2021 season is expected to begin, but expectations are Korea’s top-flight competition will ‘click-off’ in late Jan. 2021. The league’s first franchised year will be contested by ten teams.