Big European soccer clubs like VfL Wolfsburg, Paris Saint-Germain, FC Schalke 04, and PSV Eindhoven made big news when they entered esports last year. What esports fans are still waiting on are the real big fishes like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and FC Barcelona getting involved.
Well, now fans will get at least a taste of that experience. Gerard Piqué, center back for F.C. Barcelona and the Spanish national team, announced a big esports project on radio on Feb. 22.
Piqué, who won the FIFA World Cup with Spain in 2010 and is one of four players to ever win the UEFA Champions League two years in a row with different teams, talked about his esports plans in the morning program of El Món a RAC1, one of the most popular radio stations in Catalonia, Spain. While admitting he didn’t know about esports six months ago, Piqué got fascinated quickly and decided to get involved.
Rather than buying into an existing team, like Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo did when acquiring a 50 percent stake of Brazilian team CNB e-Sports, Piqué wants to start his own thing. He hasn’t revealed further details, yet, but promised it to be a very large project.
Esports fans would surely be happy to see Piqué choose the route of Rick Fox, who created his own brand, Echo Fox. In fact, Piqué isn’t a newcomer to the larger games industry. He started a video game development company called Kerad Games in 2015, which employs about 30 programmers today, and has a created a couple of games, most successfully its football manager game, Golden Manager, for iOS and Android.
It’s unlikely, though, that Piqué would actually able to create a meaningful project from scratch. For one talented players and staff are rare in esports and usually contracted. And on the other hand, only being aware of esports for about half a year is clearly not enough to really get a new project rolling without falling back on already existing resources, like an established organization.
It wouldn’t come as a surprise at this point, however, if Piqué buys a complete brand with all of its assets, including player contracts, and rebrands it—just like Rick Fox did with Echo Fox. His soccer background, obviously, makes him a candidate to engage in competitive FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer. That, to be blunt, would be disappointing, considering that both games aren’t necessarily high up the esports ranks.
Announcing a big project is a promising start, so long as he goes the extra mile and delivers more than just a virtual soccer simulation game.