FC Schalke 04, the fourteenth most valuable football club according to Forbes, made public yesterday that it has taken over the League of Legends team Elements.
With this, the German club has become the first traditional sports franchise that took up a spot in esports’ biggest league, the LCS.
#Schalke 04 acquires eSports team "Elements".
— FC Schalke 04 (🏠) (@s04_en) May 16, 2016
A famous traditional club moving into esports
FC Schalke 04 isn’t the first traditional sports club to get involved in esports.
VfL Wolfsburg, Beşiktaş Istanbul, and just recently West Ham all made efforts to become a member of the competitive gaming industry in some way.
Schalke, being the second-largest football club in Germany and the sixth-largest in the world in terms of memberships, operates with the seventh-highest operating income of any football club with more than $60 million.
“We have noticed that the level of professionalism in esports has continued to grow over the past years. Particular noteworthy is the development of structures within League of Legends and the flagship League of Legends Championship,” said Moritz Beckers-Schwarz, chairman of the board at FC Schalke 04 Arena Management GmbH.
FC Schalke 04’s esports division will be led up by Tim Reichert, a former professional soccer player who co-founded SK Gaming in 1997 alongside brothers Ralf and Benjamin.
Additionally, Ralf Reichert is now CEO of esports events powerhouse ESL.
Team Elements has been looking to sell since last year
After a disappointing performance in the Summer Split 2015, the European team had apparently invited private bids for the LCS spot, but wasn’t able to find a buyer.
The esports organization ultimately decided to create a new roster for the upcoming Spring Split 2016, but only finished in seventh place – for the third time in a row.
As not a lot of time is left before the Summer Split gets underway in just over two weeks, Schalke 04 plans to retain four players from the previous Elements lineup for now.
Besides Etienne “Steve” Michels, Berk “Gilius” Demir, Rasmus “MrRalleZ” Skinneholm, and Hampus “sprattel” Abrahamsson, the soccer club is bringing in former Unicorns of Love midlaner Hampus “Fox” Myhre, who had been looking to move on from his previous club, as the fifth player.
The squad will also continue to be coached by Patrick “Nyph” Funke.
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