Last year, EA Games, the publisher and developer of FIFA 19, the video game, has struck multiple partnerships with major football competitions across Europe. The company signed up with the English Premier League (EPL) with the two organizations agreeing to begin an official digital version of the league featuring all participating teams.
Some teams already have their esports teams, including Manchester City and West Ham, but all others in the EPL are now due to get their own digital competitors. This is about to get bookmakers quite excited with the majority of betting agencies expanding their odds to include bets on esports as well as mainstream football competitions.
How popular is esports with footballers, though?
Esports Unflagging Popularity Among Football Players
The popularity of esports is undeniable. Marketing intelligence firm NewZoo has predicted that esports will be worth $1.4 billion by 2020, but this number is likely to be reached in 2019 alone. Blizzard, one of the largest gaming companies in the world, is signing up multi-million partnerships, allowing third-party to field teams and build esports stadiums around the world for the company’s flagship fantasy shooter title Overwatch. In any event, the rise of esports is quite marked and the adoption of the EPL of video gaming is just one of the many clues.
Footballers being young men and very much into video gaming have found the appeal of esports quite tempting. In the Premier League, Leicester City defender Christian Fuchs has revealed plans to start his own esports organization.
Meanwhile, footballers are also keen on playing actual video games. They pick from a wide variety – many choose FIFA, as it’s understandably one of the titles that tempt them since they are featured there. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are rumoured to often make calls to EA and complain that their in-game avatars deserve to be maxed out on the stats charts.
Beyond the traditional football-related games, footballers prefer first-person shooters. These games are fast-paced and highly-competitive, which appeals to the result-driven nature of the majority of football gamers.
Picking a Favorite Title
Having mentioned the popularity of esports among footballers, you’re certainly wondering which games strike home with the majority of gamers. Well, there’s always Fortnite. Fortnite is Epic Games’ complete blockbusters.
Professional MMA fighters also play the game competitively which is indicatory of the game’s popularity. Fortnite is not entirely esports-ready so far, as there are many loose ends that Epic Games need to tie up, but nevertheless, it’s loved by the majority of players. Footballers are no exception.
We can confirm that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (BO4) has been another favorite for many footballers. Of course, screen time is counter-productive and coaches are trying to advise their players not to spend too much time exchanging digital bullets, but globally – more young men are inclined to spend longer time gaming than exercising.
Given how popular esports are among mainstream athletes, it’s no surprise that even those who train to excel physically sometimes find themselves on the cusp of giving up one career for another.