INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION INTERESTED IN E-SPORTS?
18th October, 2016 at 09:34:33
FIFA future planning includes an investigation of eSports possibilities.
The recent publication of international football federation FIFA's "Vision for the Future" plan revealed a growing interest by the body in the impact and potential of eSports activity; sufficient to prompt it to establish an investigative team to examine possibilities.
President Gianni Infantino laid out FIFA's path into the future with three goals in mind; the growth of the game, improving the football experience; and building a more powerful and resilient FIFA.
The closer examination of eSports falls under the second of those imperatives and discusses how to expand involvement, with the point of departure the long-time relationship with EASports.
This spawned the successful annual online competition FIFA Interactive World Cup, and the popularity of that initiative was proved in 2013 when over 2.5 million football fans participated, creating a Guinness World Record and prompting Wikipedia to comment:
"The virtual football World Cup enables millions of football fans from around the world to fight for the title of being named the best FIFA player. The FIWC is recognized as the largest online gaming tournament."
The FIFA interactive game is one of the most commercially successful sports video offerings on the world market, and has already established a powerful online brand presence... and a platform for future development.
readers will perhaps recall that the 2016 FIWC runner-up, Sean Allen, went on to sign up with EPL club West Ham United as its first eSports front-man with his own shirt number, an indication of the seriousness with which the London-based club regards the eSports phenomenon.
Clearly FIFA has also acknowledged the future importance of this vertical and its global exposure to legions of fans, mainly in the younger demographic groups, through modern technology.
There are certainly ample opportunities for deeper involvement in terms of sponsorships, games, commercial products and tournament activity. Given football's universal appeal, there is almost unlimited scope for further development.
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