In the early 2000s, pro gamers had much simpler uniforms. They wore cotton hoodies and T-shirts while competing for prize pools that were in the tens of thousands of dollars, rather than the hundreds of thousands. You can see how much has changed from looking at esports jerseys.
SK Gaming, founded in 1997, is still a force in the Counter-Strike competitive scene, but their team’s fashion choices have changed a lot since those early days. Today, SK Gaming pros have traded in the hoodies for short-sleeved athletic jerseys made out of synthetics rather than cotton.
More athletic styles first picked up steam in 2006, when Fnatic’s Counter-Strike team wore these black T-shirts with thin orange lines on the shoulders, almost like racing stripes. Back then, the team wore their shirts with jeans, which de-emphasized the athletic vibe of the shoulder detailing. Still, the trend of dressing pro gamers like cyclists took off after that.
In 2007 and 2008, the racing stripe showed up on many team uniforms in the Championship Gaming Series, which was North America’s first televised esports tournament series. The CGS tried to model its league structure after traditional sports, and that included the look of the jerseys. The shirts on the CGS had a much looser fit than any cyclist would wear in a race, but the short sleeves, bright colors, and logos definitely made these pro gamers look more like riders in the Tour de France… except they were all still wearing jeans.
This faux-athletic trend for esports jerseys has stuck around for a whole decade, with very few exceptions. As noted, SK Gaming’s teams now wear synthetic short-sleeved jerseys that look like they could withstand a more strenuous workout than sitting in a desk chair. When tournament settings get cold, SK Gaming’s pros don’t always opt for a hoodie. Instead, they’ve got these…