The first ever Serie A eSports match took place this month between Roma and Sampdoria.
Sampdoria’s eSports athlete, Mattia Guarracino beat Roma’s Nicolo Mirra 3:0 over two legs.
The Serie A is following the example of the Dutch football League who already have their own eSports League – the E-Divisie.
ESports is essentially a new term for competitive gaming and is a growing phenomenon within the footballing world.
Real football clubs from all over Europe including Schalke, Manchester City and Roma have begun signing FIFA 17 professional gamers to represent their clubs in FIFA tournaments.
FIFA tournaments are usually streamed online via broadcasters such as Twitch and are watched by an ever increasing audience.
According to Newzoo, a website which provides audience statistics of eSports games, FIFA came in 11th as the most watched eSport on Twitch, with an audience of 500,000 views in February alone. Newzoo also recently stated that they expect FIFA to break into the top 10 by the end of 2017, such is the growing popularity of FIFA as a spectator sport.
Television broadcasters such as BT Sports and Fox Sports have also picked up the broadcasting rights to televise FIFA 17 tournaments to their audiences. The popularity of FIFA is certainly growing within the eSports world.
It is clear from this year’s trends that real football clubs are keen to work with FIFA gamers in order to attract new fans to their clubs. The most popular online gamers have a huge social media presence; which football clubs are hoping to cash in on.
Roma already have three eSport athletes signed up to their rooster. They’re given the full support of the football club and are given free use of the club’s facilities like they would if they were professional footballers playing for the club.
Roma’s eSport athlete, Nicolo Mirra, who played Sampdoria’s Mattia Guarracino in the historic battle, is proud to represent the same club as one of his footballing idols – Francesco Totti:
“I grew up watching him (Totti). He’s been around ever since I was a kid and he’s always been amazing, on video games too. I watched him live at San Siro and he was even better in the flesh.”
ESports are set to become one of the biggest industries in the entertainment world and are already one of the most popular sports in Asia, South Korea has a stadium specifically built for eSports. It is now even possible to place bets on eSports like someone would if they were watching a real football match.
You can watch the replay of the first ever Serie A eSports match online here whilst Italian readers can attend the eSports festival where they can watch the stream at the Guido Reni District in Rome.