The Professional Football League has announced the launch of the first official French “Fifa 17” championship. PSG has acquired an official esports team with Webedia in this famous sports simulation game as well as in League of Legends.
256 million players worldwide including 180 every week. Growth of 13% this year and 34% in 2019. Revenues estimated this year by Newzoo at 493 million dollars worldwide for one billion within 3 years. Look no further, e-sport is on everyone’s lips at the moment by the government, which is trying to promote its growth at Webedia, which buys Oxent and Bang Bang Management, via Vivendi, which enters into a partnership with ESL. All this for what? The answer is not very original: the cash machine that the sector will soon represent.
Last week saw French football finally take an interest in the enormous potential of the phenomenon. PSG has detailed the contours of its partnership with Webedia to set up its own e-sport team. Thus the Qatari club will now face its opponents on its virtual Fifa 17 pitches or in the arenas of League of Legends. Faithful to his recruitment policy when he took over the football and handball divisions of the club, he recruited flashy. Double Danish Fifa World Champion August Agge Rosenmeier will be on the party accompanied by French hopeful Lucas Cuillerier. Five-time European champion Bora Kim, better known by his nickname “YellowStar”, will be League of Legends’ sporting director.
Objectives: Asia and the United States
“We almost made progress on this project 3 years ago, explains Fabien Allègre, director of diversification for PSG. E-sport is not the club’s core business and it was necessary to rely on a partner who perfectly masters the environment of the value chain ”. Hence this partnership with Webedia to ensure the development of the team and promote the image of PSG internationally. “The objective for the 2 companies is to earn money, ahead of Cédric Page, general manager of gaming at Webedia. Having the PSG brand allows us to legitimize our strategy in new common territories such as Asia and the United States ”. This is obvious when we know that 44% of the electronic sport audience is in Asia and 19% in North America.
PSG will manage the sporting part and will leave communication and marketing to Webedia. Before soon creating a joint venture between the two entities with several million euros mobilized. “It is a real common strategy, we are enthusiastic about Webedia, not just a communication coup as we have seen for other football clubs such as Manchester City or Besiktas”. AS Monaco has also just set foot in e-sport on a smaller scale with the recruitment of a pro Fifa player, Nathan Nayagom in partnership with Epsilon eSports.
Except that despite the ambition of PSG to “become one of the 10 biggest franchises in the world”, it will start the League of Legends season… in division 2. “We have to go step by step, the club is justified . We are not yet in the top European in this area ”. PSG will recruit around ten people based in a “gaming house” in Berlin for this game. And the game, even if it is very far from sport, is good to raise awareness abroad of a maximum of “gamers” to the PSG brand with 100 million players per month online according to the publisher of the game Riot Games.
Complicated coexistence between PSG and LFP
Except that in the meantime the Professional Football League (LFP) has also entered the game. The LFP has announced the creation of E-League 1. The goal of the game? Play on Fifa 17 several supporters who compete to win the right to represent their club before then facing each other at the national level. “In terms of image, this allows us to reach a younger audience who do not necessarily go to a stadium or watch the games on TV” explains Mathieu Ficot, director of economic development at the LFP. The goal is to have a few thousand players in the first year. “If there are tens of thousands, it will be a success,” we tell the League. The success of the process remains to be confirmed …
Especially since the coexistence of this initiative with the solo adventure of the club of the capital does not go without saying to listen to Cédric Page of Webedia. “One of the possibilities envisaged is that the players qualified in the E-Ligue 1 tournament for the PSG be a member of the PSG academy e-sport. In any case, we are talking about a minor tournament compared to the ESWC (Electronic Sports World Cup) that the PSG will play. It is a little disturbing for the PSG which is ahead of the LFP in the field ”.
On the side of PSG we also deny an agreement with the league. “The question is not yet decided whether the PSG will participate, we explain to the club. The league project appeals to supporters while we have professional players ”. A stone in the garden of the LFP which does not need that while it still does not have a president and must face an open conflict within it.