Ajax Becomes 13th European Pro Team eSports Investment

AJAX BECOMES 13TH EUROPEAN PRO TEAM WITH ESPORTS INVESTMENT

Ajax Becomes 13th EU eSports Investment (Photo: Ajax)

TNL Take: What a week for Pro Teams and eSports.

Somewhat lost in the 76ers eSports team purchase and the Warriors/Wizards/Dodgers purchase was Dutch team Ajax has signed top FIFA player Koen Weijland, a five-time FIFA Champion.

While Ajax becomes the first team in the Netherlands Eredivisie to sign an eSports Athlete, last month PSV Eindhoven revealed plans themselves to find someone through a FIFA 17 tournament.

Former Manchester United goalkeeper and current Ajax Director, Edwin van der Sar, had this to say of their new signing and was very telling as to why Ajax made the eSports investment:

 “We are always looking for new ways as a club to bind us to our young fans. We will be helping Koen with support not only in major tournaments, but also organizing activities with our fans. We believe it is important to encourage both digital and real football.

These two worlds can perfectly coexist and compliment each other.”

Boston Celtic's Jerebko Buys eSports Team Renegades

BOSTON CELTIC'S JEREBKO BUYS ESPORTS TEAM RENEGADES

Jonas Jerebko (Photo: USA Today)

TNL Take: The number of times I've tweeted of the emergence of Pro Teams and Athletes to eSports is a little ridiculous.

This week we saw that trend continue with Boston Celtic's forward Jonas Jerebko buying eSports team Renegades.

While Renegades got kicked out of their League of Legends slot, they have a spot in Turner's E LEAGUE with their Counter-Strike team.  Jerebko also picked up a Detroit based Call of Duty team and plans to have a Team House in Michigan.

Renegades price tag wasn't nearly as high as other Athlete/Pro Team related eSports Team purchases have been over the past year primarily to losing that League slot.

I just looked at the Renegades investment deck and it was from a while back.

Now that's not saying Jerebko isn't going to be spending some more coin. He said he does intend to get into other games but more importantly:

Will actually be paying his Athletes...and on time.

This eSports team has the benefit of their owner having a $5M annual salary.

Jerebko's Swedish heritage may also have something to do with the buy; home of Fnatic's Counter-Strike team and the country where eSports is on some High School curriculum already - btw, just give that a bit more time here in the US.

 

To be moved up my "time to refresh the article pile" is one of the earliest things I wrote in The Next Level 006 on Traditional Sports Invading eSports.

For those keeping score, here are the Athletes I predicted would make the next moves into eSports :

  • Kobe Bryant
  • Kyle Long
  • Chris Kluwe
  • Steve Nash
  • Amar’e Stoudemire
  • Baron Davis

C'mon Kobe, you just announced a $100M fund. Time to join your buds.

The Current and Future eSports Team Owners (Photo: LA Lakers)

EA Helps Traditional Sports Teams With eSports Athletes

EA HELPS TRADITIONAL SPORTS TEAMS WITH ESPORTS ATHLETES

(Photo: PSV)

TNL Take: Besides the enjoyment I get out of the eSports industry, it's also been a Duolingo replacement for me this year as I've learned a tiny bit of Mandarin, Portuguese and now Dutch.

Dutch Eredivisie team PSV Eindhoven becomes the next on an ever growing list of traditional sports teams entering eSports.

(Source: tnl.media)

However this comes with a twist.

Instead of directly signing a FIFA Athlete or larger scale with a full eSports team like FC Schalke, PSV will hold a FIFA 17 tournament to determine their player.

 

The interesting part is that this once again shows the power of the Publisher.

 

By smartly integrating a FIFA 17 tournament into the selection process, it gives EA more control.

EA's recent sponsorship of both German team Bayern Munich and the English Premier League could be signs of more traction in this area.

Is the eSports ecosystem ready to support a level of stars through a draft system like this?

 

We will see real soon.