In Switzerland, a football match was interrupted last weekend due to a protest action by supporters against eSports. Fans of national champion Young Boys do not want their club to set up their own eSports team and let that show by throwing game controllers and tennis balls on the field.
The remarkable action started after fifteen minutes and ensured that the game with FC Basel, which already has its own eSports department, had to be shut down for a while. Besides the game controllers and tennis balls on the field, large banners were rolled out with the telling text ‘fuck esports’ and a big pause button.
The reason for the aversion to eSports is that fans prefer to see clubs invest their money in real life. footballers and for example the stadium, instead of a digital league and something that they do not see as a ‘real’ sport.
Whether the action makes much sense doubt, because the rise of eSports seems unstoppable. Football clubs see a new potential source of income. A club like Tottenham Hotspur even thinks it can earn millions by organizing eSports tournaments. Ajax, German Schalke 04 and American basketball clubs also have similar plans.
In the United States, the NBA is the first professional sports organization to establish its own official ‘esports league’ with the NBA 2K gaming league . has founded. Gamers who are active there can win huge cash prizes.
In the future it may be a step further. For example, there are already ideas for eSports to be part of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is seriously considering this to build a bridge with the eSports community and to attract a younger audience. Next year a decision must be made about this.