American football fans who use the Rec Room social gaming app can now grab their favorite team’s gear for their in-app avatars, just in time for the NFL playoffs.
Rec Room, the Seattle startup behind the eponymous app, announced Thursday that it partnered with the National Football League for a new “digital fan experience.”
In the Rec Room app, players can create and customize avatars, then use them to participate in a wide variety of user-created activities, such as sports, paintball, or simple social interaction.
Over the course of the last six years, both Rec Room and its player community have created thousands of pieces of virtual clothing for avatars to wear, such as hats, suits, T-shirts, and carried accessories.
As of Thursday, this now includes official NFL merch. A new pop-up shop in the Rec Room app lets users purchase licensed NFL hoodies and hats for their avatars to wear. All 32 teams in the NFL, which naturally includes the Seattle Seahawks, are currently represented in Rec Room.
Fans who’ve decked their avatars out in official NFL gear can then use the in-app photobooth in the Rec Center to snap pictures, which can then be shared on social media or hung on the wall in their player housing.
“Adding Rec Room as another virtual destination for the NFL will enhance our ability to reach existing fans while discovering new fans in their community of over 80 million users globally,” Ed Kiang, vice president for video gaming in the NFL, said in a statement.
The Rec Room/NFL partnership comes nearly six weeks after the debut of the NFL Zone, an officially-licensed “metaverse experience” built within Fortnite Creative that comes complete with its own sponsored minigames and a virtual tailgate party. At the time, Kiang described it as “a massive opportunity to bring NFL football to a new generation of fans.”
The NFL also recently inked a deal with Google for the streaming rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, which garnered interest from other tech giants including Amazon and Apple.
The NFL partnership with Rec Room comes after a two-year period of record growth for its game, which includes the recent debut of physical gift cards and a recent brand crossover with Mattel’s Masters of the Universe toy line. As of last month, Rec Room reported 640% year-over-year growth on mobile, with 29 million active users across all platforms in Q1 2022.