FOOTBALL ACADEMIC Jonathan Ervine of Bangor University believes Scottish football clubs need to embrace the expanding world of E-Sports, to tap in to the increasingly lucrative market.
Speaking at the Football Collective conference at Hampden Park, Ervine said: “E-Sports have become an extremely remunerative way in which football clubs are looking to increase brand exposure.
“Looking at France, where E-Sports has taken off, the video game industry turnover exceeds that of the French film industry. E-Sports has been identified as a great way for generating money and it is estimated that at the start of this year, internationally, it generated nearly £2 billion of investment.
“The reason for the sudden take off of E-Sports is down to the fact that clubs are now realising that E-Sports has the potential to reach out to new audiences and build global brands.
“For Scottish clubs, they have to be looking at E-Sports as a way to bridge the gap between other nations and expand their brand as is being done in France. The potential is there as we have seen Celtic and Hibs participate in trans-national E-Sport leagues.
“Celtic and Hibs will have definitely reaped benefits from their participation and there was the story recently about Celtic recruiting two professional Pro Evolution Soccer players which made the mainstream news.Therefore, it seems that Celtic are definitely using E-Sports to get extra brand exposure, not just in the British Isles but on the international stage as well.”
Despite the positive case put forward by Ervine, he warns that clubs should be wary of looking to E-Sports as a solution to a quick revenue stream going on to suggest Scottish Football needs to prioritise maximising Television income:
“I think that Scottish football needs to work harder to form partnerships with overseas television rights first and foremost. You have to be able to build upon a known product for E-Sports to be able to flourish and with better, wider reaching television deals would achieve this. Once this has happened hopefully we can see E-Sports become more mainstream in Scotland.”
By Ryan Crombie