Update: Fnatic have since dismissed the below rumour as false.
Manchester United Football Club are in talks with a competitive gaming team as they look to enter the eSports industry.
The historic English Premier League football club are in talks with a professional European Overwatch team who are currently signed to another organisation, eSports News UK can exclusively reveal.
On top of that, established eSports brand Fnatic are also interested in signing the same team, putting a British sports club head-to-head with a competitive gaming organisation in this manner for the first time. We have seen the rise of sponsorship from iGaming sites (casino sites – see a list here) but maybe it’s time for esports brands to join?
While no deal has yet been made, Fnatic have already made an offer to the team, prompting Manchester United to renegotiate with a counter-offer.
A source close to the situation told eSports News UK that Manchester United are unfazed by Fnatic’s offer.
A third organisation are also said to be interested in acquiring the Overwatch team.
While Fnatic are one of the world’s most valuable eSports organisations – said to be worth around £30m ($42.5m) – Manchester United are valued at more than £2bn ($3.3bn).
eSports News UK has reached out to both clubs but has yet to receive comment.
United are the latest football club to embrace eSports, after West Ham signed pro FIFA player Sean “Dragonn” Allen last month and German Bundesliga club Schalke acquired a League of Legends team. Spanish side Valencia are also getting into the competitive gaming scene.
Manchester United are the biggest football brand to get involved with eSports so far, so don’t be surprised to see other well-established clubs following suit in years to come.
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Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
A keen League of Legends and World of Warcraft player, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He works as full-time content director for the British Esports Association and runs ENUK in his spare time.