Konami has announced that it’s become the official partner of Arsenal Football Club. This announcement follows Konami’s partnerships with other world-famous clubs such as Valencia CF, Inter Milan and Fulham FC. This partnership sees the North London club’s full squad, all of the kits and the Emirates Stadium perfectly recreated in PES 2018.
Just like its previous partnerships with other teams, Konami will be given access to the Arsenal squad and be able to digitally scan the entire first team squad, implement Player and Team ID mechanics relative to the team, and even reproduce each player’s characteristics.
The synergy between sports games like FIFA and PES meetings football clubs is obvious but still in it's infancy in terms of innovative partnerships. We have seen a range of clubs signing their own e-sports players for example Man City who hired an 18-year-old gamer to represent the football club at eSports tournaments and fan events.
Recently Coca-Cola sponsored a virtual player in FIFA 18 which also highlights how much brands wants a piece of the action.
Clubs in E-Sports
It was announced on October 4th 2016 that France’s biggest football (soccer) club, Paris Saint-Germain, would be creating an esports franchise. Teaming up with French media company, Webedia, they announced they’d be the first major French sports team to get involved with competitive gaming. Further announcements are expected in late October 2016 on how the operation will work.
On September 26th, the Philadelphia 76ers became the first sports team in North America to dip into competitive gaming with the huge purchase of team diginitas. Operating for over 13 years and housing some of the best gamers in the world, the amount has yet to be disclosed, but sources claim it could be around $5-$15 million. The esports element will continue to operate under the dignitas brand.
On the 22nd of September, Dutch football club, Ajax, announced they would be picking up the top FIFA talent from the region in Koen Weijland. He was presented the number 39 jersey by former goalkeeper and current director, Edwin van der Sar, at the Amsterdam Arena. In a statement they have promised that they will support him in both major FIFA tournaments and connecting young fans to the club with activities.
On the 10th of August 2016 an announcement was made by the Dutch football club of PSV Eindhoven. They revealed they would be breaking into esports with a FIFA 17 squad, decided by a tournament held at the Phillips Stadium once the new game is released. Perks of the position will include the full use of the PSV training facilities and inclusion within the annual team photograph.
On Wednesday 20th of July, Sporting Portugal confirmed they had stepped into esports after rumours have circulated amongst the press. Initially announcing they would be moving into FIFA, they also revealed they had brought on a number of management in order to head up their competitive gaming division.
On Wednesday 6th July, City announced their recruitment of a young FIFA player and his role at the helm of their new esports division. The move follows rumours that bitter rivals Manchester United were in a bidding war with Fnatic over an Overwatch team. It is currently believed that Man City will stick to the FIFA space for now
FC Schalke, The second biggest football club in Germany (behind Bayern Munich) announced that they’d picked up two FIFA players and a premier European League of Legends team. The bold move suggests big plans for a sports giant that is already doing plenty to promote their esports activity in the media.
David Bytheway from Wolverhampton was picked up by the German football club of Wolfsburg. The city well known for its ties to car manufacturer, Volkswagen, were the first major European football club to stake a claim in esports. The organisation look committed on FIFA and have yet to make an advance into other titles.
After placing second at the 2016 FIFA Interactive World Cup, Sean ‘Dragonn’ Allan was scooped up by Premier League Club, West Ham Utd. Despite receiving backlash from fans who were concerned about the direction of the club, it’s rumoured the London based club has further esport expansion plans outside of the football title.
The Valencia esports reveal was a bit of a mess as invites were leaked by the media ahead of the announcement. The press conference to reveal the Hearthstone players also turned out to be a bit of a farce as the mainstream Spanish media were unable to grasp the concept of esports, with the half an hour session revolving around asking what it was. On a positive note, the club advised they will be expanding rapidly and plan to host their own Rocket League tournaments in association with Playstation.