The Rise Of Esports In Football

Esports, or competitive video gaming, has been around for decades, but only in the last few years has it gained mainstream popularity and recognition. The origins of esports can be traced back to the 1970’s and 80’s and the early days of arcade games and home consoles, when players would compete for high scores and bragging rights.

The first major competitive gaming events were televised poker tournaments and other games, such as chess and Scrabble. Today, Esports covers a wide range of genres and platforms, from PC and console games to mobile games and virtual reality.

According to Statista, the global esports market revenue is expected to grow to $1.62 billion by 2025. The worldwide esports audience size is projected to reach a staggering 577 million by 2025.

Most popular sport in the world

Currently, the most popular esport is League of Legends, with the game attracting millions of viewers worldwide for its tournaments. But football, the most popular sport in the world with an estimated 4 billion fans, now has its eyes firmly on that prize.

In 2018, the NBA launched its first gaming league called the NBA 2K League, while the NFL has tournaments for the popular Madden NFL franchise, allowing fans to indulge their sporting fantasies and make their own draft picks.

That success prompted other sports to invest in their own leagues and tournaments in order to help grow their game and get a slice of ever-rising revenues. Football was one of those sports and is now determined to become the number one esport in the world.

The Growth of Football Esports Games

One of the main factors behind the rise of esports in football was the quality of the video games. For the first time, gamers could play with their favorite team and as their favorite player.

Games also offered realistic graphics, gameplay and physics, as well as a variety of modes, features and options for players to customize their experience.

Football games have been around since the late 1980s, but it wasn’t until 1993 when FIFA93 was launched, that the game really took off. Now FIFA is the official game of many football organizations and competitions, such as FIFA itself, UEFA, La Liga, Premier League and more.

Esports investment

Football leagues around the world are now launching eSports competitions of their own. For instance, in 2018, England’s Premier League created an eSports competition that allowed fans to compete on behalf of their club in FIFA. This helped drive fan engagement and connect FIFA players with professional players.

Another example of a football league embracing esports is La Liga, the top division of Spanish football. La Liga has created its own official esports competition, called eLaLiga Santander, which features 34 clubs from the league competing in FIFA.

The competition is broadcast on TV and online platforms. By creating its own esports platform, La Liga aims to increase its engagement and loyalty with its fans, especially the younger generation, as well as a way to generate new revenue streams and opportunities.

The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) now boasts a dedicated esports division called FIFAe, which organizes several tournaments throughout the year for both individual players and national teams. Some of the most prestigious FIFAe events include the FIFAe World Cup, the FIFAe Nations Cup and the FIFAe Club World Cup.

Manchester City

Manchester City, one of the best football teams in the world, are just one of the many football clubs to have recognized the potential of esports, and have invested in their own FIFA football team. Their esports division was launched in 2016, signing several professional players for their esports team.

The club also collaborates with Epsilon Esports, a leading esports organization, to compete in tournaments and events. By doing so, Manchester City not only expands its fan base and reach to new markets, but also enhances its image as an innovative and forward-thinking club.

Benefits of an Esport and football collaboration

One of the main ways that football can contribute to esports is by providing its established and reputable brands to the gaming scene. Football and esports can also benefit from each other by sharing their best practices and expertise.

Football has a long history and tradition of excellence, professionalism, and organization. It can offer valuable insights and guidance to the esports industry, which is still developing and evolving.

For instance, football can help esports improve its governance, regulation, and integrity, as well as its training, coaching, and performance methods. Esports can also learn from football's social responsibility and sustainability initiatives, such as promoting diversity, inclusion, and education.

But it isn’t a one-way street, Esports is a dynamic and fast-growing industry that is constantly innovating and adapting to new technologies and trends. It can help football enhance its digital transformation and improve fan engagement and entertainment value.

The Future of Esports Football

Football and esports have a lot to offer to each other. By collaborating and cooperating, they can elevate both industries to new heights. Football can provide its brands, reputation, and experience to esports, while esports can provide its innovation, creativity, and passion to football. Together, they can create a winning combination that will benefit both players and fans alike.

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