E-SPORTS INTEREST FROM MAJOR U.K. FOOTBALL CLUB
Manchester City signs eSports professional player Kieran Brown.
The major British football club Manchester City has made its first move into the rising eSports market by signing up eighteen-year-old professional player Kieran “Kez” Brown
A report in The Guardian newspaper claims that the young professional will play the Fifa 16 game for the team, live streaming on Twitch and making YouTube videos. He will also represent the football club at eSports tournaments and fan events.
Diego Gigliani, SVP for media and innovation at the club’s City Football Marketing unit said: “This is a natural evolution for Manchester City. We’ve been very involved with our partner, EA Sports, and the Fifa franchise for some time.
“We will be a bigger presence at gaming tournaments, we will have more content through our digital channels and we will engage even more with our fans at matches and club events.”
Gigliani added that Brown has great potential, saying: "Not only is he a great player, but we also believe he will engage and interact brilliantly with our fans all around the world.”
Our readers may recall that earlier this year West Ham United FC signed up eSports player Sean Allen (24) to play games for them over the internet and Youtube, and the German club Wolfsberg made a similar agreement with another eSports professional player, 22-year-old Englishman David Blytheway.
The Guardian reports that a number of YouTube stars have built huge followings playing the computerised football simulator FIFA 16 for fun, including KSI who has more than 13 million subscribers.
Manchester City may also have one eye on rival Manchester United, which last month was reportedly considering the purchase or sponsorship of an unidentified eSports professional playing team which specialises in the new first-person shooter game Overwatch.
The Guardian also notes that late last year major Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov invested $100 million in Russia’s largest eSports platform Virtus.pro, and that last month SkyTV announced it would begin broadcasting Britains first 24-hour eSports channel as part of an investment in channel owners Ginx TV which also included ITV