I take a look at how sports and esports are coming together.
For sports and esports fans, here is a guide that keeps you in the know of professional sports teams and players that are entering (have entered) the space. This is making esports much more exhilarating as the industry develops and matures. Professional sports teams are much more organised and already have a general idea of how to manage players to ensure a comfortable environment and security. This exciting combination gives the esports industry a lot more exposure to general sports fans who might not have known about esports beforehand.
We’ll look at the teams specified below and their involvement within esports:-
- FC Schalke ’04
- VfL Wolfsburg
- Beşiktaş Club Gymnastic
- Manchester City FC
- West Ham United
- Santos FC (Santos Dexterity)
- Echo Fox
- NRG eSports
- Rise Nation Gaming
FC Schalke ’04
The second biggest German football club entered eSports after purchasing the League of Legends team Elements. They decided to takeover the team after analyzing the professional gaming scene’s growth for some time. The former Elements team now play in the FC Schalke shirt featuring the addition of the word “eSports”. The Bundesliga club looks set to confirm their place in the eSports world.
Along side FC Schalke in Bundesliga stands VfL Wolfsburg who are making a name for themselves by stepping into competitive FIFA. Seems like its becoming the next innovative step for professional football clubs to take. Wolfsburg signed one of the best FIFA players in the UK, David Bytheway. David stated that he doesn’t think it will be long until English Premier League teams start following suit, he was correct in his statement. The German team said that they saw the potential in eSports and wanted to be one of the first professional sports teams on board.
Beşiktaş Club Gymnastic
The Istanbul based team Beşiktaş were the first professional sports club to step into eSports with the acquisition of Aces High eSports club. The Süper Lig (Turkey’s highest football league) champions have a League of Legends team playing in the Riot owned Turkish Champions League. A representative at Beşiktaş stated that they always want to be at the forefront and want to be the first to do something revolutionary in the history of Turkish sports. For a well established team like Beşiktaş this is a new way to draw in the younger generation to support them going forward both on and off the pitch.
Manchester City FC
Last month English Premier League side Manchester City signed professional FIFA player, Kieran “Kez” Brown. For the northern side this is their first entrance into eSports. Kieran will be representing the club during major tournament and fan events. It’s becoming clear that football teams would like exposure in more than one field as the popularity of the competitive gaming scene begins to rocket year upon year.
West Ham United
The Hammers also picked up a FIFA player in Sean “Dragonn” Allen. Sean will represent the East London side during FIFA tournaments and was given a custom West Ham shirt specifically for events. For professional sports clubs this is definitely an excellent way to gain global exposure.
Santos FC – Santos Dexterity
Last year the Brazilian football club Santos requested partnership with the eSports team Dexterity. Dexterity, a multi-game eSports organization decided to put pen to paper with Santos FC to form Santos Dexterity. The legendary football club that famously nurtured the likes of Pelé, Robinho and Neymar Jr now have an eSports team in the following games:
– CounterStrike: Global Offensive
– Heroes of the Storm
– League of Legends
– Call of Duty
This Spanish basketball team has also incorporated an eSports division into its infrastructure. Baskonia eSports is starting by creating a team for League of Legends, CounterStrike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, FIFA and NBA2K. Picking up the veteran jungler Alvar “Araneae” Martin to coach their League of Legends team. Mario “Mariodela” Lorente a top Spanish Hearthstone player has also been welcomed to represent the Liga ACB (highest Spanish basketball league) team.
Former NBA basketball player Rick Fox decided to create an eSports organization with influences from his days as a professional athlete. Rick stated that he is passionate about eSports and its a scene he was eager to get into. Echo Fox is an eSports team competing in League of Legends, CounterStrike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty, Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros. It is exciting to see where eSports will take us with such sports talents becoming so heavily invested.
NRG eSports came into action in late 2015 owned by the co-owners of the Sacramento Kings (NBA). Other notable owners came in March of this year these included NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, designated hitter Alex Rodriguez formerly of the New York Yankees and Jimmy Rollins a professional baseball shortstop who retired after playing for the Chicago White Sox. With such a noteworthy backing NRG look set to rise up and the ranks to becoming one of the best organizations within eSports. At the moment they have teams within League of Legends and CounterStrike: Global Offensive.
Rise Nation Gaming
Young NFL star Rodger Saffold is a huge fan of competitive gaming and with Call of Duty being one of his favorite games he decided to invest. The St. Louis Rams offensive lineman was hooked on watching Twitch.tv and started to watch MLG events. Shortly after, he bought Rise Nation Gaming which for now is primarily focused on Call of Duty.