Reports: Manchester United look to buy eSports team
The Red Devils are also looking away from football for investments.
After becoming a commanding presence in the footballing world for decades, Manchester United are beginning to spread their influence in other sports apart from football. As per reports, Manchester United are in negotiations to buy a professional European Overwatch team who are currently signed up with another organisation.
Overwatch is a first person shooter game released by developer Blizzard, who have also released titles like Starcraft, Warcraft and Hearthstone. Overwatch was only released by the developer in May 2016. However, the game’s future in eSports is uncertain.
The Red Devils main bidding rivals for the gaming team are established eSports outfit, Fnatics. It is also the first time such a bidding war is occurring for an eSports team between a competitive eSports organisation and a British sports club.
A deal is yet to be struck between the football club and the gaming team as Fnatics had made an earlier offer to the team which prompted Manchester United make counter offers. The Red Devils are unfazed by rival bids while a third party is also reportedly interested in buying the Overwatch team.
While Fnatics is the world's most valuable eSports organisation valued at $42.5 million, it pales in comparison to the football behemoth that is Manchester United who are one of the richest sports clubs in the world, valued at $3.3 billion. If Manchester United are seriously interested in purchasing a sports team, they could easily outbid any other potential suitors.
Manchester United entering the eSports fray would add some credibility to a genre of sport which is often ridiculed. The Red Devils entry into the sport comes after several other football clubs like signed up eSports teams. West Ham had signed pro-FIFA player Sean Allen earlier this year while Bundesliga club Schalke 04 also bought a League of Legends team. La Liga club Valencia also recently announced an eSports department of the club.
Football clubs entering virtual sports give eSports a credibility as Splyce’s (The team Schalke 04 bought) League of legends coach said, “Suddenly, when Schalke comes in, that idea doesn't seem too impossible anymore. I think it's definitely a big step forward. Schalke is a big team. I think they're the fourth best team in the Bundesliga. I think that means a lot.”
Manchester United’s entry into the field would add big name recognition and credibility to the sporting field.