There is a continual change in the way that sport is consumed and often the way it is seen by next-generation fans.
In early September 2018, the Norwegian FA launched an official esport national team with the focus on games such as FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer. The team consisted of a squad with six players, four specialising on PlayStation and two on Xbox meeting six times a year at the Ullevaal Stadium in a dedicated esport arena.
“It’s great to finally launch our esports team,” said the Norwegian FA’s dedicated eSports Manager.
“We believe that when people aren’t outside playing football, they are inside consuming the game by either playing or watching on a range of devices. Our focus on esport will help to increase the general interest of football in Norway.”
Last month the Federation launched a FIFA19 tournament before their Nations League match against Slovenia. A total of 350 people competed in the games online with 64 players making it through to the final round. Fans could watch the tournament through online TV with 50,000 tuning in throughout the event and a peak of 15,000 at one time during the final stages.
“90% of the viewers were under 39 years, with 60% being in the 10-29 age range. TV 2 has never witnessed such a young demographic on a live sports production. In addition to the TV and streaming numbers, there were a total of 300 people at the event watching the final live.”
“The main goal of this tournament was to get people to the stadium and watch the Nations League match against Slovenia. 15,000 tickets were sold for this game, and 250 of them came directly from the FIFA esports tournament. We also used this tournament to look for potential players for the national team. Three players were identified and offered a place in the NFF squad.”
“Our goal is to connect gamers with football and to bring our values about a healthy lifestyle and Fair Play into the gaming environment. Finally, we want to win a major esport tournament at the highest level against other national Federations.”
Earlier this year EStars, an Irish based company partnered with Three and League of Ireland Clubs for a tournament that ran around the country and which ended with a team from Sligo Rovers emerging as Champions.
It’s a trend which is already attracting crowds of tens of thousands to tournaments around the world and eStars will host a Fortnite based tournament in 2019 with three days of competition down for Croke Park in February and three more at Windsor Park in Belfast in March.
Definitely one to keep an eye on for brands and sports wanting to remain connected to the more virtual reality of youth.