Denmark has put itself on the esports map with one of Counter Strike’s most iconic teams, Astralis. So popular is the team that at a recent UN meeting, the country’s Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, tweeted wishing the FPS wizzes good luck in an upcoming tournament. Now, the country is moving on even more esports.
FIFA 19 Will Shine in Denmark and Beyond
Let’s begin as always with the facts. Just a few days back, FIFA 19 developers Electronic Arts announced a freshly-minted deal between the company and all teams in the world’s most-watched football championship, the English Premier League (EPL).
This generated quite a bit of buzz because up until then it had been only a handful of teams that actually had ongoing partnerships with esports organizations, or running their own. West Ham, Manchester City, and their perennial rivals from the Red Devils have been some of the teams to run esports arms.
Now, it looks like the whole lot of them are quite happy to participate. Meanwhile, Discovery Networks Denmark signed up a water-shed partnership with esports host and festival DreamHack, agreeing to add every Danish Superliga team in a similar eSuperliga for the upcoming EA FIFA 19.
Follow the Money
As you may have thought, money plays a big part here. But esports is developing between their traditional bastion and that’s a good thing, and besides – the news was met with quite the excitement from both the Danish Superliga and DreamHack CEO and President Marcus Lindmark.
Superliga’s President, Claus Thomsen was the first to comment acknowledging the significant landmark achieved here:
We are very proud to finally unveil the eSuperliga. Several of the biggest clubs in Denmark have been engaged in esports for some time, while for others this is a new ballgame. Therefore, we are very happy to have DreamHack on board, bringing years of international esports tournament experience to the table. We look forward to presenting FIFA esports with a quality, that matches a traditional TV broadcast.
Mr. Lindmark himself has been quite supportive of the freshly established partnership, as for DreamHack, adding titles that have been inspired by real sports is a novelty as well.
The Superliga will provide sufficient opportunities for skilled FIFA players to compete as teams. Each team may have a team consisting of a minimum of two players plus their coaches. The opening prize pool may seem like a modest sum at $50,000, but more investment is likely to follow.
At the same time, Discovery Networks Denmark Director of Nordic Sports Anders Antonsen reiterated one of the latest revelations mainstream sports organizations have made – that esports actually drive interest among younger viewers, as exemplified by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach’s attempt to include video games in the Olympics.
Apparently, Discovery Networks Denmark stands to benefit from attracting a younger crop of viewers, with Antonsen commenting:
We know that our streaming service Dplay attracts a younger audience which makes it the ideal launch pad for the new eSuperliga.
In conclusion, this has been the second occasion that an esports league for the upcoming EPL FIFA 19 has been announced. With the inclusion of the ePremier League in FIFA Global Series, mainstream football is finally leaving a digital footprint.