Manchester City Football Club have signed a new young player – but one who will never set foot on the pitch. 18-year-old Kieran “Kez” Brown joins the club as its first e-sports player. He will represent the club at e-sports tournaments, playing popular computer game Fifa.
“It’s exciting, it’s something new for the club and it’s something new for me. I’m going to live stream on Twitch, I’m going to be making videos for Manchester City’s YouTube channel and I’m going to be playing some City fans and representing City in future tournaments, which I’m looking forward to.” said Mr Brown.
Diego Gigliani, vice-president of media and innovation at Manchester City, said: “As e-sports continues to gain momentum, it makes sense for our club to be part of the action and get closer to our fans, who love playing EA Sports Fifa as Manchester City.
“We will be a bigger presence at gaming tournaments, we will have more content through our digital channels and we will activate even more with our fans at matches and club events.”
“When we set out to find an e-Sports player, we decided we wanted someone who was a fantastic, young, talent, but also with a hunger and a desire to grow. We strongly believe we have found that in Kieran. He is full of potential. Not only is he a great player, but we also believe he will engage and interact brilliantly with our fans all around the world.”
e-Sports overall is growing rapidly, with traditional media companies increasingly taking greater interest. Last month Sky announced it would begin broadcasting the UK’s first 24-hour eSports channel as part of an investment in channel owners Ginx TV which also included ITV.
E-sports is increasingly being seen as a lucrative spin-off for football clubs. Top ranking Fifa players, like those for other games such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike, travel around the world to compete for titles and cash prizes.