An eSports Reportage by Jasmine Low

Although news of football clubs ‘buying’ FIFA gamers isn’t something new, it sends ripples of hope, promise and excitement throughout the FIFA gamer community across the Asia Pacific region.

Earlier this month, Go International Group Dotcom company representatives were invited to attend the FIFA Interactive World Cup (#FIWC) Grand Finals happening as I type this, in London (16-18 August 2017). Londoner Akira Leyow, a representative of the company will represent Malaysia at the Grand Finals, and offer fans in Asia a closer perspective to the finals match. We’ll be posting more updates this weekend. Considering the first FIWC was held in 2004 in Switzerland, the interactive cup has come a long way and has garnered champions interestingly from all corners of the world, aside from the Asia Pacific region. Played in FUT (FIFA ultimate team) format, players are shortlisted after a series of stringent matches and it takes not just practise but also strategy to stay on top. The FIWC is recognized as the largest online gaming tournament by Guinness World Records.
The FIWC 2017 champion will receive $200,000 in prize money and a ticket to the Best FIFA Awards where he/she has the chance to meet the greatest of the real football world. FIWC 2015 Champion Abdulaziz Alshehri from Saudi Arabia was able to meet Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi among many others, while 2016 champion Mohammad Al-Bacha talked it up with Marcelo Vieira and Manuel Neuer. – Wikipedia on FIWC
In 2015 it was estimated by SuperData Research that the global eSports industry generated revenue of around US$748.8 million that year. Asia is the leading eSports market with over $321 million in revenue, North America is around $224 million, and Europe has $172 million and the rest of the world for about $29 million.[132] Global eSports revenue is estimated to reach $1.9 billion by 2018. – Wikipedia on eSports
Money, money, money is what seems to be driving eSports these days. It seems the higher the prize purse, the greater the coverage – which goes to show, there’s also a huge market in the management of sponsorships and club deals thrown the way of young video gamers. In organising eSports events in Malaysia, our vision is to help nurture and grow gamers as young adults, instill the spirit of sportsmanship and raise awareness and sponsorship funds from the corporate and govt sectors i.e. to garner non-industry related sponsorship support. We believe this horizontal sponsorship tactic will give eSports the depth and reach across industries, hence a wider audience. Football talks to everyone. And so we predict will FIFA17 on console and mobile phones! This is just the beginning and we’re really keen to roll up our sleeves and head down to the virtual green fields.

Here’s an excerpt of news from down under, where a football club – Melbourne City, signs on 20-year old FIFA gamer on the eve of the FIWC.

City signs first FIFA player

MELBOURNE City has become the second mainstream sporting club in Australia to invest in esports, signing its own FIFA player.
  • Source: FoxSports.com.au

Marcus Gomes, a 20-year-old Melbournian, will represent Melbourne City in London at the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final. Gomes is the only Australian player in the 32-player field.

The City Football group has been an early adopter of esports, with Kieran Brown representing Manchester City and Christopher Holly representing New York City FC, also in FIFA.

“It’s an honour to be the first player signed by an A-League club in Australia,” Gomes said.

Marcus Gomes - Melbourne City's newest signing.
Marcus Gomes – Melbourne City’s newest signing.Source: Supplied

“I started playing FIFA 2006 when I was nine, and I never could have imagined that the game would be where it is today, or that I would be signing a professional esports contract with a club like Melbourne City.”

Read more in Fox Sports

Related Link: Melbourne City signs eSports FIFA gamer Marcus Gomes days before millions watch him at FIFA interactive world cup