When you think about Ruud Gullit and EA sports FIFA together, you’d likely associate it with the 93 rated, FUT icons card; if you’ve ever been able to experience ultimate team with Gullit’s card, you can understand my excitement. But recently, the former Ballon d’Or winner has given fans even more reason to be excited.
Ruud Gullit, the former Dutch and Barcelona star is becoming an ambassador of a FIFA eSports Academy called, Team Gullit. The goal of the academy is to discover, train, and develop previously lesser known EA sports FIFA players. This academy is going to be able to help players track their play with specially developed software that can aid in analyzing gameplay. Equally, the academy is going to place an emphasis on building the player’s personal brand and social media outreach, something that as a former media luminary, Gullit understands. One of the long-term goals of this endeavor is to challenge for the FIFA eWorld Cup.
Ruud Gullit, though, is not the first superstar to have entered the world of eSports. Brazilian legend Ronaldo has acquired shares in a Brazilian eSports team, Neymar, PSG and Brazil’s frontman, openly welcomed eSports star “xPeke”, on Twitter and Instagram, to the Gillette global brand ambassador’s team. And It is not only players who are getting involved, teams like Bayern Leverkusen in Germany, Major League Soccer and the NBA have also shown interest and invested in eSports teams or leagues.
Within the United States, sports have played a very prevalent role in society, fans have been able to watch and enjoy sports, but now, fans are now able to interact with their favorite players and teams, the eSports market has arrived and is not to be taken lightly. Super Data notes, “At $1.5B for 2017, global eSports revenue will grow 26% by 2020 as it attracts an even more mainstream audience. This increase will be fueled by a viewership projected to grow 12% each year and a swelling number of third-party investments”.
As a relatively young and untapped institution, eSports presents opportunities for marketers to capitalize on a multifaceted market that is only going to appreciate and evolve.