The Growth of Football Clubs in the Esports Scene
Non-endemic groups having been making significant pushes into esports lately, with companies like Louis Vuitton and Marvel getting involved in the ever-growing industry.
New sponsors getting involved in esports is always a great thing to see. It’s an even bigger deal when football (known in the US as soccer) clubs get involved with the scene. And, boy have they come at it with a fury.
Clubs in Esports
Most of you at this point have likely heard today’s news that FaZe Clan will again be partnering with Manchester City. The two team’s FIFA players will train at a facility together and launch co-branded retail products, like jerseys and scarves.
While the FaZe partnership with Manchester City is a massive moment for the org, it isn’t the first case of a football club getting involved in the scene.
FC Copenhagen was one of the first when they created an esports division under the team name North back in January 2017, picking up the old Dignitas line-up to start the team out.
Paris Saint-Germain also famously picked up LGD’s Chinese Dota2 squad last year, rebranding it to PSG.LGD and making a deep run to the Grand Final of The International 2018 and a third-place finish at The International 2019.
Turkish teams Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe, and Galatasaray, massive teams in the Süper Lig, have all picked up squads across multiple esports as well, most famously all three earning franchise spots in the Turkish Champions League in League of Legends earlier this year. Beşiktaş also has a female roster in CS:GO.
The world-famous FC Barcelona also got involved earlier this year with a Rocket League team, taking some top finishes in the European Rocket League Championship. Schalke picked up a franchise spot in the LEC for League of Legends themselves.
That’s a lot of major football clubs getting involved, not mentioning the push from NBA teams to get involved in the industry as well.
These teams bring massive fanbases and a century or more of experience, branded and developed strong squads in football to an industry that still struggles to professionalize itself fully, and sparked massive growth in the number of people tuning in to watch matches.
Orgs like Cloud9 and Team Liquid will likely always be around. It’s safe to say; we’ll probably see less prestigious orgs begin to get picked up or partnered with more and more sports teams in the future.