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Esports continues to enjoy growth in the UK. After the success of the 2019 FIFA eWorld Cup event being held in London, there has been a notable surge in esports audience numbers.
A recent report commissioned by UK games industry body Ukie found that the UK esports sector has grown at an annual average rate of 8.5% between 2016 and 2019.
There’s also more investment in UK esports teams, which has boosted the popularity of this sport. More franchises have also emerged in recent years such as the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League.
If you are a gaming and football enthusiast, esports football will likely interest you too – and perhaps betting on virtual matches. You can now find here the best site for virtual football betting.
With the success of esports football leagues in other western countries, more brands and financial investors have discovered the financial opportunities this trend presents.
Esports Football Coming to the Mainstream
UK mainstream football has also embraced esports. Stars such as Gareth Bale of Real Madrid now have an interest in esports. There are many more cases and examples of this happening – there are Premier League teams and players getting involved, for example.
Manchester City are playing a part in esports and their presence is growing in the space, especially after forming a partnership with Faze Clan, one of the biggest and best esports organisations in the world.
Others involved in esports include PSG, Wolves and other Premier League clubs that have been taking part in the ePremier League. Even David Beckham is involved with London-based Guild Esports.
These big football teams have individuals who are nominated to represent the clubs in esports tournaments. For example, Shellz and Ryan Pessoa represent Manchester City and are considered two of the best professional FIFA players in the world.
Pro esports players have a lot of pressure on their shoulders, as with FIFA esports there’s usually one or two players representing a team, as opposed to 11+ in a physical football team.
These pressures do come with significant rewards though: there are lots of prizes and huge prize money up for grabs at the top level.
In 2019, the FA launched England’s first esports team: eLions. The FA started with a search for FIFA 19 players to represent the Three Lions at the inaugural FIFA eNations Cup. This was a good initial commitment to esports in the UK.
Today, there’s a lot of action in the world of esports football in the country. As mentioned, in August 2020, an ePL Invitational took place – and a new group of Premier League footballers and special guests qualified to represent different teams. These esports players put their FIFA 20 skills to the test.
Biggest Esports FIFA Teams
FIFA esports is growing, and it’d be no surprise if we see different teams and players each year being nominated as the best in the business. Esports moves fast. One of the best FIFA players in the world – Tekkz – was barely a known name a couple of years ago.
Furthermore, some of the biggest and best esports teams have FIFA listed as one of their game choices include Natus Vincere, who are based in Ukraine. They not only specialise in FIFA but also have professionals in a range of other competitive games.
Then we also have the likes of Vici Gaming. This team is based in Shanghai and again, FIFA is one of their preferred games that they compete on.
Of course, let’s not forget London-based Fnatic, whom Tekkz plays for. There are of course many more.
Football and Esports: The Perfect Match
With many EPL clubs looking to extend their reach beyond traditional means, esports is a way for them to do so. Some football clubs target millennials by recruiting gamers to represent them in top esports tournaments.
By investing in esports, the biggest clubs such as Manchester City want to tap into gaming and gain more influence in this space, especially considering many fans also follow games online.
There are financial rewards, brand advertising options and the online reach that esports offers.
With the growth of esports, UK football associations, football teams, private investors, players and other parties are looking to take advantage of the various opportunities available.
In time, this investment could raise the quality of organisations and games, and also increase the prizes available. A lot of this investment may have links to UK football, bolstering the beautiful game – on and off the pitch.
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