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West Ham Sign Esports Player to Contract

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May 7, 2016

West Ham Sign Esports Player to Contract

from whufc.com

West Ham United are delighted to announce the signing of e-sports players Sean ‘Dragonn’ Allen. Allen, better known as Dragonn in the e-sports world, was runner up in the 2016 FIFA interactive World Cup. The new Hammers signing has been given the official squad number of 50 and will now represent the Club at all official e-sports tournaments.

In signing Dragonn, West Ham is the first team in the U.K. to officially sign an E-Sports star.

For the record, Wolfsburg in Bundesliga, from what I can find was the first professional sports team to sign an E-sports star.

Just an unbelievable story coming out of London and something that you could see coming from a mile away. Not exactly that West Ham would be the first to sign a player, but that a sports franchise would hop on the burgeoning business that is e-sports.

Its something that we’ve been paying a little bit of attention to as over the last year or so it has exploded on to the scene with major United States businessmen getting in to esports like Matt Mazzeo, Mark Cuban and former professional athlete Rick Fox.

There are projections that e-sports are soon to be a billion dollar business, and it only makes sense that as it grows and sports franchises get involved, its possible that it can be a much bigger business than that. Just think about it.

Once you get your mind past the, “this is just a video game” thing, its very much the same as regular sports, in a sense. The old timers always say that sports at the highest level are something like 90% mental and 10% physical since everyone at the highest level are pretty close to the same level of fitness, how much different would E-sports be? Playing video games is just that, a mental exercise much more than a physical one. If we say that the best footballers in the world, and the best basketball players in the world, and the best whatever athelte is in the upper 1% of all athletes at their sport, the very same thing can be said about gamers.

I know gamers. I know producers of games and engineers or games and writers for games and people that work in every aspect of games, and if you don’t think that the best video gamers in the world are a very small percentage of the overall population, you are kidding yourself.

Listen to that video because there was a part that I had to repley… Dragonn said that he trains for probably 10 hours a day. Run that back in your head.

10.

TEN.

Ten (10) hours, every single day, he is playing FIFA.

That is dedication holmes.

I am one who is convinced that at the end of the day, the business of sports is for the most part, the entertainment business. Yes, there is a fine line when running a sports franchise because there is a passion that is built in us when we form an allegience to a particular sports team, but as the team owner, there is a fine line that you have to balance between running something for passion and sport, in the smart business minded way, but there is also a high level of entertainment that needs to be mingled in with that.

The e-sports market doesn’t have to worry about that, because the game itself is entertainment. If you take something like FIFA or NBA 2K, yes there are parts of us that play it because we want to play with Chelsea or with the USMNT or with the Lakers or whatever, but the other side of it is that we just want to play a video game. There is no denying how big of a market that is, and for the most part, that industry made itself by the realism of the games but with some licensing with the leagues and unions and manufacturers for likenesses and logos, etc.

But, now that a team has broken the seal and signed an actual e-sports star to contract, why wouldn’t every other single sports franchise do the same? E-sports tournaments are are already selling out arenas for competitions, there is an endless amount of titles in different sports, there are millions of gamers out there who in some way could think that they could be signed to a sports contract now, that would have NEVER thought that was something possible.

Wherever video games are played, there are video game tournaments. Video game tournaments are massive. E-sports is close to being massive. Sports franchises getting behind video games in a very real way like this, is massive.

Soccer without a doubt is the biggest sport in the world, so it makes sense that a soccer club would go first. Well done Wolfsburg. Well done West Ham.

That, all mixed together, is just an extraordinary thing to me, and West Ham may have started something that will obviously not be on the level of sports played on a pitch or a field or a court, but it will be pretty damn close.

I don’t know if I have any real point here that I am trying to make, other than throwing some thoughts out there, but I think this is a phenomenal story.

I can’t wait to see where this is going to go in the future.

H / t to Tech Crunch

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