In a huge scoop for the eSports industry and a diversification for football, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC became the first team to enter the Rocket League Championship Series. Merging the Premier League with eSports will help legitimize the industry for those who prefer traditional sports, while also helping to expand the remit of traditional football teams. Could the Wolves help eSports gain more traction?
— Wolves Esports (@WolvesEsports) November 5, 2020
According to their announcement on https://www.wolves.co.uk, Russell Jones, GM for marketing & commercial growth, asserted that: “Gaming and eSports remain a crucial part of our brand growth strategy.” This comes as part of their bid to grow its brand to new sports and one that reflects the modern era. This would also help broaden the appeal of the Wolverhampton Wanderers around the world. Fans in the USA may not care as much about the English Premier League as they do about universal eSports.
The team aren’t new to eSports but will now have six games they compete in professionally, including FIFA 21. Their first competition for Rocket League will be in winter 2020, where a team of three have been selected to compete. The game is football related at least, featuring cars powered by rockets playing football. It achieved professional status when teams began playing for prize pools, which have grown increasingly larger. The game has been free for players since September 2020, which may also help people get involved with it.
— Esports Insider (@esportsinsider) November 5, 2020
The eSports industry is constantly evolving and each year gains increased traction with sports fans. ESPN added a segment on their website https://www.espn.com dedicated to eSports. While many are already fans through streaming sites like Twitch, the inclusion of eSports by a major sports network helps afford it greater credibility. Viewing it through the lens of being a sport and not a game helps those who previously dismissed eSports to at least give it a chance.
Another aspect of the legitimacy of eSports is its inclusion on sports betting platforms. Indeed, as https://www.stsbet.co.uk shows, as well as offering to bet on traditional sports such as the Premier League, La Liga, and Bundesliga, bets can be made on Dota 2, League of Legends, and StarCraft games. Incorporating eSports on a sports betting platform helps give the industry legitimacy. It also may help those new to eSports to get involved, especially those who might be older and otherwise wouldn’t have a chance to encounter eSports.
While eSports will gain traction in the UK through the club’s endorsement, the club itself will gain attention throughout the world. The future of sports may be less about specific clubs working in specific sporting fields, but more about creating a brand that transcends borders and sports and is a holistic competitive lifestyle brand.
The further push for the Premier League team towards eSports helps in several ways. Not only does it benefit the team, who have diversified their portfolio which looks good for the club’s future, but it helps eSports itself. The industry gains approval and authenticity and helps amplify how to watch or even play eSports. Younger audiences will be familiar with it already, but older football fans could benefit from learning more about it.