By Jack Edwards
FRENCH FOOTBALLING giants Paris Saint-Germain have signed European eSports legend Bora “YellOwStaR” Kim as head of eSports for their newly founded team – cementing their place in the rapidly growing professional gaming industry.
PSG set up their team on Monday (October 17) and the following day announced the acquisition of YellOwStaR.
eSports is more commonly referred to as competitive or professional gaming. Teams or individuals compete against each other in tournaments and leagues for cash prizes.
According to research carried out by gaming news website gamesindustry.biz the worth of eSports is set to reach over £465 million by 2017.
The exponential rise in the value of both the industry and the prize pool for those taking part in eSports competitions – with winners scooping up to £1 million – has begun to attract attention from large organisations across the world.
The UK, however, has been slow to catch on to the craze, but is not devoid of success.
The most successful team in European eSports, Fnatic, has its headquarters in London and is estimated at a net worth of £42 million. However, Fnatic is in the minority, being one of only two large organisations investing in British eSports, the other being billionaire football club Manchester City.
Editor and founder of eSports News UK, Dominic Sacco, said: “In terms of the number of eSports organisations we have, the UK is not lagging behind. There are hundreds of eSports teams here, but most are smaller, amateur teams that are nowhere near the scale of bigger European organisations like Fnatic.
“The UK doesn’t have anywhere near the level of interest that those bigger tournaments have. With fewer watching, sponsors are taking their money to bigger global tournaments right now.”
Large names within the sporting industry such as the German sports club FC Shalke 04 and, most recently, Paris Saint-Germain have made their first forays into the world of eSports looking to capitalise on extensive brand growth.
Sam Rawlings, owner of semi-professional eSports team Newcastle Jaguars, said: “There’s so many factors that make eSports such a growing and competitive industry that choosing one alone that stands out is difficult.
“The biggest reason for growth in my opinion is how professionally it is being treated at the moment.
“With investors from major football clubs like Shalke, Bejiktas and PSG getting involved it’s proving to everyone that eSports is serious.”