Soccer-based Esports have taken a boost in the arm of late, in no small part due to the lack of soccer action across the world.
As fans have been forced to turn their attentions to competitions involving EA Sports’ FIFA 20 title, it has grown in popularity and exposure. That has been reflected in a new deal signed by top Danish side Brondby with their kit supplier recently. They have long used Hummel for their soccer jerseys, but the supplier will now also provide the club’s Esports jerseys too.
“With the cooperation with Hummel, we have once again managed to link an existing Brondby partner to our sports team, which we are very pleased with, and at the same time it is an expression of the community that is among both club and partners,” said Jesper Larsen, Head of Esports at Brondby. “It is great to experience the support of existing partners and be able to include them in our ‘new’ online community.”
Brondby are one of several top soccer teams who have ventured into Esports in recent years. They primarily take part in competitions on FIFA, which is a trend set by some of the largest clubs in Europe. Paris St. Germain have won seven of the last eight French titles on the pitch, and are the most recognized brand in French football. They have a strong esports presence through their Esports organization, founded in 2016.
Likewise, Premier League clubs in England have recently caught on to the potential of Esports involvement, not least because of the ePremier League Invitational tournament won by Wolverhampton Wanderers recently. It demonstrated the marketing power of such events, with clubs eager to expand into any markets they possibly can. With that expansion comes exposure, which in turn their marketing partners become a strong part of, hence Hummel’s decision to back Brondby.
Individual players can also have huge marketing potential should they rise to the top of their chosen Esport. FIFA’s presence as a major Esport has been cemented this year and, as 2020 continues, it will only increase in popularity with players and fans. Bwin details that the winner of the FIFA eWorld Cup takes home $250,000 from a prize pool of $500,000, making it a lucrative tournament in terms of rewards, as well as exposure. Taking the top prize would ensure the player is a star in their own right and likely to be connected to one of the world’s biggest clubs on the back of their success.
Soccer clubs are not purely restricting themselves to their primary sport though. Barcelona are arguably one of the biggest names in world soccer and they have branched out and into other games. They focused initially on FIFA’s rival PES as they entered an official partnership with developers Konami. Since then, they have also moved into Rocket League, the car and soccer hybrid, with moderate success. Paris St. Germain also retains a presence in Dota 2, League of Legends and Rocket League, as well as FIFA and Brawl Stars.
As for Hummel, they too have recognized the value of Esports and will not just be the supplier of jerseys to Brondby’s Esports teams. The Danish manufacturer has also announced partnerships with German Esports team PENTA, as well as the Astralis Group, the parent company of League of Legends side Origen.