As time goes on, there are more instances of traditional sports and esports coming together. In recent years, we’ve seen sportsbooks hybridise to cover both ‘IRL’ sports and digital-based sports, effectively covering both markets. We’ve also witnessed sports broadcasters picking up or offering coverage on modern esports, making the industry more accessible.
Now, as the esports industry continues to explode both in value and popularity, the lines are blurring once again. The most recent development in this area is a monster partnership between Evil Geniuses and Wolverhampton Wanderers (Wolves). While Evil Geniuses is one of the oldest and most successful gaming organisations in the business, Wolves is a prolific and high-performing Premier League football team from the United Kingdom.
This enormous partnership deal has effectively boosted Evil Geniuses’ overall value to a staggering $255 million. It has propelled the organisation up the rankings of the most valuable esports organisations with ease.
What Does The Deal Mean For EG?
Evil Geniuses boasts a legacy that stretches back to 1999. Today, it’s one of the oldest and most dominant teams in esports, covering a wide range of titles. It’s a world champion organisation that has led to the creation of some of the finest players in the esports industry.
Similarly, Wolverhamption Wanderers (Wolves) is one of the oldest association football clubs in the UK. It was founded in 1877 and today, it competes in the highest tier of English football. It too is a champion side with a following in the millions.
This partnership will allow Evil Geniuses to further its reach in the Chinese markets. This fact comes as a result of Wolves’ owners being a Chinese conglomerate known as Fosun. For their part in the deal, Evil Geniuses will be granted access to market expertise and in-country training facilities. This deal will also open up wider opportunities for merchandising and brand presence.
Esports And IRL Sports, Combined
This isn’t the first scenario wherein a traditional sports team and an esports team have collided. In fact, there are several football clubs out there around the world exploring the potential of esports as the industry grows exponentially. For example, way back in 2016, German football club, Schalke 04, formed an esports branch under the same name.
Today, that branch competes in League of Legends and FIFA – and as a team, it performs remarkably well. Around the world, prolific teams such as Manchester City (UK) and PSG (France) have also invested time, money, and energy into fleshing out esports departments.
It’s a fantastic investment overall, as esports continues to push upwards through the realms of entertainment and value. Recently, it was revealed by the Fintech Times that half of Chinese football fans believed digital football was just as exciting as real football. Furthermore, CSM Sport & Entertainment revealed that the the average age for the esports viewer was almost half the average age of a Premier League fan.
If these industries and organisations want to stay current and fresh, they need to start addressing a younger, more diverse audience.
And, as Wolves has highlighted, esports is the way forward.