Manchester United, one of the most valuable and famous athletic organizations in the world, is reportedly dipping into the eSports market. A report from eSports News UK indicates that the soccer/football club has entered a bidding war over an unnamed European Overwatch team which is currently signed to another organization.
Manchester United, which is currently valued at over $3 billion, is one of three parties currently negotiating with the team. Although one of the interested parties is still unknown, the other group that has put forward an offer to the Overwatch team is eSports powerhouse Fnatic. Fnatic is an extremely valuable organization in their own right; the popular eSports group is reportedly valued at over $40 million. Even with that kind of fiscal power, Fnatic would be no match for Manchester United from a purely financial viewpoint.
They would not be the first, but Manchester United would be easily the richest and most well-known football team to plunge into eSports. Another British club, West Ham, recently signed FIFA player Sean “Dragonn” Allen, and the German Bundesliga club Schalke 04 signed Elements, a professional League of Legends team. A huge organization like Manchester United getting into the eSports scene would be another big step in the growing popularity and legitimacy of eSports.
Overwatch itself is still in the very early stages of its eSports scene. The Competitive Mode of the game, along with a ranking/progression/ladder system, has not even been released yet. However, the game seems likely to find a strong audience when it hits the eSports stage. Blizzard is hard at work keeping the game balanced and has implemented a permanent ban policy for anyone who is caught cheating in the game.
What do you think of Manchester United entering the eSports scene? Do you expect other teams to follow suit? Let us know in the comments below!