European football clubs have developed a strong appetite for esports recently, with multiple top clubs investing in the industry over the past year.
Now Switzerland’s FC Luzern, one of the oldest sports clubs in the country. has announced its intent to set foot in esports. FC Luzern would be the first Swiss Super League club to join the ranks of other European top teams like FC Schalke 04 or Paris Saint-Germain.
While it’s still unclear which game FC Luzern wants to participate in, it’s highly likely that it’s going to be FIFA. For many clubs, EA’s football simulator is the smallest hurdle to take, a low-risk high-reward strategy to dip their toes in the industry. Worldwide, more than 30 traditional clubs from a wide range of sports are involved in esports to date.
FC Luzern is not the only Swiss club with an eye on esports. FC United Zürich, a third division club, has put two FIFA teams in jerseys in September. And much bigger names are expected to reveal their plans soon. FC Bayern München and Real Madrid were invited to participate in the upcoming FIFAInteractive World Cup (FIWC), for instance.
That said, competitive FIFA’s relevance is growing. FIWC’s increased prize pool?—?from $20,000 last year to $200,000 next year?—?contributes to this development. But even so, FIFA will barely enter the top 20 when it comes to prize money in esports. Not to speak of viewership numbers, which are abysmal?—?even just compared compared to other esports-related streams.
FIFA has a long way to go if it wants to compete in the top division of esports. Nevertheless, it is an effective door-opener for clubs like FC Luzern, which hopefully expand their commitment beyond the game at some point.